Army deployment approved for security during by-polls

Notification mentions that Civil Armed Forces and Pakistan Army units to be used as second, third tiers of security

By
Ayaz Akbar Yousafzai
Ranger helps an electoral worker, who along with others gather to collect election materials, ahead of general election in Karachi, Pakistan July 24, 2018. Photo: Reuters
Ranger helps an electoral worker, who along with others gather to collect election materials, ahead of general election in Karachi, Pakistan July 24, 2018. Photo: Reuters
  • CAF, army units to be used as second, third tiers of security. 
  • These units be available till April 22 in 21 constituencies.
  • Request was made by ECP seeking strict security measures.

ISLAMABAD: On request of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) seeking strict security measures during the by-elections in the country, the federal government has approved deployment of Pakistan Army and Civil Armed Forces (CAF) troops.

The government would use the armed forces’ units as a quick response force. The Ministry of Interior has issued an order in this regard.

The notification mentions that the CAF and Pakistan Army units would be used as second and third tiers of security and they would be available with immediate effect till April 22 in 21 constituencies.

“The exact number of troops, date/period, area and mode of deployment would be worked out by the ECP in consultation with all concerned stakeholders based on ground requirement/ assessment. The date of de-requisitioning of the said deployment will be decided subsequently after mutual consultation among all stakeholders,” the notification stated.

Army deployment approved for security during by-polls

Punjab seeks suspension of mobile internet services

Earlier, the Punjab government requested the interior ministry to suspend mobile internet services in the province's 13 districts and tehsils on April 21 (tomorrow) owing to the by-polls.

The request has been made to maintain law and order situation in the province and avoid any untoward incident.

In a letter to the interior ministry, the provincial home department requested the suspension.

According to the letter, the request for the suspension of mobile internet services has been made for Lahore, Sheikhupura, Kasur, Sadiqabad, Kot Chutta, and Dera Ghazi Khan districts.

Meanwhile, the tehsils where suspension is requested include Talagang, Chakwal, Kallar Kahar, Gujrat, Ali Pur Chatha, Zafarwal and Bhakkar.

A copy of the letter has also been sent to the Punjab chief secretary, inspector general, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) chairman as well as other relevant officials.

It is important to note that the mobile internet services were blocked on February 8 as well despite assurances by the government of undisrupted network connectivity during polls.

By-elections on 21 seats

In Punjab, NA-132 (Kasur) and NA-119 (Lahore) — vacated by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz — will see candidates up against each other on Sunday.

PM Shehbaz also gave up two of his provincial assembly seats in Lahore, PP-158 and PP-164, retaining his NA-123 seat in the National Assembly.

In KP, the NA-44 (Dera Ismail Khan) seat was left vacant after provincial Chief Minister Ali Amin Gandapur retained his provincial assembly seat, PK-113, while by-polls will also be conducted in the NA-8 (Bajaur) constituency, which was left vacant after one of its candidates — Rehan Zeb Khan — was murdered ahead of the February 8 general elections.

The provincial assembly seats on which by-polls will be held include Punjab's PP-22 Chakwal-Cum-Talagang, PP-32 Gujrat-VI, PP-36 Wazirabad-II, PP-54 Narowal-|, PP-93 Bhakkar-V, PP-139 Sheikhupura-IV, PP-147 Lahore-III, PP-149 Lahore-V, PP-158 Lahore-XIV, PP-164 Lahore-XX, PP-266 Rahim Yar Khan-XII, PP-290 Dera Ghazi Khan-V; KP's PK-22 Bajaur-IV, PK-91 Kohat-II; Balochistan's PB-20 Khuzdar-III, PB-22 Lasbela.