The interim federal cabinet on Tuesday approved the deployment of troops and civil armed forces personnel at polling stations and in sensitive constituencies to ensure security during the upcoming Feb. 8 general elections.
“The troops will perform duties in sensitive constituencies and polling stations and will also act as a rapid response force,” read a statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office following the meeting chaired by caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar.
The decision was unanimously approved on the recommendation of the Interior Ministry. Earlier, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had written to the Interior Ministry, noting it had a shortfall of 277,558 security officials for election duty. In its letter, the electoral body had noted it lacked 169,110 personnel in Punjab; 18,500 in Sindh; 56,717 in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa; 13,769 in Balochistan; and 4,500 in Islamabad. In this regard, it had sought immediate arrangements for deploying Pakistan Army and other security forces at polling stations to ensure free, fair and secure polls.
During the cabinet meeting, the interim prime minister also lauded the efforts of caretaker Finance Minister Shamshad Akhtar for increasing tax revenue in the country, improving the tax-GDP ratio and devising detailed proposals for the administrative structure of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR). He stressed that the government supports all proposals regarding FBR reforms and ordered the constitution of an inter-ministerial committee under the supervision of the finance minister in this regard.
The cabinet also approved the formation of a search committee for the appointment of the vice chancellor of the Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Medical University Islamabad on the recommendation of the Ministry of National Health. It similarly endorsed decisions of Economic Coordination Committee’s meeting from Jan. 9.