Sindh LG elections: Army declines ECP's request for static deployment of troops at polling stations
GHQ says army/rangers troops will be available as quick response force
ISLAMABAD (Dunya News) – The Pakistan Army has turned down a request made by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) seeking deployment of military and Rangers’ troops outside all highly sensitive polling stations along with quick response force for the second phase of the local government elections in Karachi and Hyderabad divisions.
The Ministry of Interior has informed the top electoral body about the response from the General Headquarters as the LG polls are set to take place on Jan 15.
At the request of the ECP, the ministry had sought deployment of over 20,000 troops as, interestingly, all 8,924 polling stations were categorised as sensitive/most sensitive in both divisions.
The GHQ, in its response, said “provincial home departments are responsible for providing requisite troops/ police component for first tier response/static deployment at Polling Stations while Civil Armed Forces (CAFs) and Pakistan Army can only provide Quick Reaction Force (QRFs) for second and third tier response respectively”. It excused itself from providing the required number of troops of Army and Rangers due to their border duties and other internal security deployment across the country.
“Further existing commitment of troops with respect to border duties and other internal security deployment across Pakistan, required deployment of over 20,000 troops of Army/Rangers on static role duties outside 2,395 most sensitive polling stations and deployment for protection of polling material/staff cannot be made,” the letter cited the GHQ’s reply as having said.
However, it announced that troops would be provided under Article 220 of the Constitution as second and third tier responders respectively in QRF mode/standby role.