24 February 2024
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ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Monday sought assistance of Pakistan Army and civil armed forces during the general elections, citing a shortfall of nearly 0.3 million security personnel, ARY News reported.

“While the ECP takes all necessary steps to organise an election, […] it also expects the same commitment from the executive authorities and law enforcement agencies to maintain law and order in the area of the constituencies during the conduct of elections,” the ECP said in a letter to Ministry of Interior.

The request invoked Article 220 of the Constitution, emphasising the duty of all executive authorities to support the ECP in fulfilling its functions.

The letter disclosed a significant shortfall of 267,558 security personnel required for the effective conduct of the general elections.

Breaking down the current strength of police personnel, the commission provided details sourced from the inspector generals (IGs)of police of provinces and Islamabad.

The most populous province, Punjab, currently has 108,500 police officials in contrast to the required 277,610 security personnel. Similarly, Sindh, the second-largest province, boasts 105,000 police personnel against the necessary 123,500 security officers.

Balochistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) are also grappling with a shortage of security forces. Balochistan reports 18,150 police officers compared to the required 31,919 security personnel, while K-P has 93,260 police officers against the recommended strength of 149,077 security officers.

Read More: ECP seeks deployment of army personnel for general elections 2024

Meanwhile, capital city Islamabad has 4,500 police officers available against the stipulated requirement of 9,000 security staff.

ECP Secretary Omar Hamid Khan, in the letter, said that keeping in view, the deficiency of police personnel, the services of the Pakistan Army and civil armed forces (CAFs) shall have to be “requisitioned in static mode”.

The letter maintained that the armed forces need to be deployed at polling stations to ensure “smooth elections” in light of the country’s “fragile security cum law and order situation”.

The ECP secretary told his interior ministry counterpart that his office should inform the election commission about the availability of the army and CAFs before December 7, seeking the ministry’s support in “the national cause”.

General elections

It is pertinent to mention here that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Friday notified general elections on February 8, 2024.

According to details, the Election Commission of Pakistan issued a notification of the date of the general election under Section 57 of the Election Act۔

The notification said that in light of the Supreme Court’s order, the general elections will take place on February 8, 2024.

Abdul Gh Lone