Home Latest News ECP Says Army ‘Not Available’ for Election Duty due to Security Situation

ECP Says Army ‘Not Available’ for Election Duty due to Security Situation

In briefing, defense ministry officials say Army’s basic duty is security of borders and country

by Staff Report


The Ministry of Defense on Tuesday informed the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) that personnel of the Pakistan Army will not be available for poll-related duties in upcoming elections due to the prevalent security situation within the country and its borders.

According to a press release issued by the electoral body, it met with Defense Secretary Lt. Gen. (retd.) Hamooduz Zaman Khan and Additional Defense Secretary Maj. Gen. Khurram Sarfaraz Khan to discuss security for elections to the Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa assemblies. In a briefing, both officials apprised the ECP of the country’s prevailing security situation, with a focus on conditions on the borders.

There has been a marked resurgence in terrorism nationwide since peace talks with the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) broke down last year. The militant group has subsequently ramped up attacks on law enforcement agencies, particularly in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan. Amidst this, President Arif Alvi has announced polls for Punjab on April 30, while KP Governor Haji Ghulam Ali has suggested May 28 for polls in the northern province.

The ECP said it had conducted three “important” meetings under the chairmanship of Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja on Tuesday. Apart from the meeting with the defense ministry officials, it also met the Punjab chief secretary and inspector general and the KP governor. According to the press release, the defense ministry officials said that the Army attaches great importance to its “basic duties” of border and national security. “They [officials] said that the Army is not available for election duty at this time due to the present situation in the country,” it said, adding that the officials had also said the current economic situation of the country was also affecting the Army.

Nonetheless, the officials told the ECP that it would be up to the government whether it wanted to “restrict the Army to the performance of primary duties or assign secondary duties to it—i.e. election duty.” They also clarified that if the Army is assigned to election duty, troops would be deployed in quick response mode and static deployment of troops would not be possible.

Two more meetings

According to the ECP, the officials from Punjab briefed it on the general election of the Punjab Assembly, the law and order situation in the province, and other issues such as security and economic problems. “The deployment of police is not only limited to the day of elections, but their duties include ensuring the security of people and prevention of crimes,” said the IGP. “Police will be deployed to protect mosques and worshipers during the month of Ramzan,” he said, noting that 3,330 political meetings and campaign events were held during the 2018 elections. “There will be more during these elections, so it is very difficult to provide security keeping in mind the current law and order situation,” he added.

The officials also indicated a staff shortage, noting 40,000 teachers were currently on census duty and would also perform duties for matriculation exams. They said police would need the support of the Army to ensure foolproof security for the April 30 election.

In his meeting with the ECP, the KP governor also briefed the participants on the law and order situation in the province.

The ECP is currently striving to conduct polls in Punjab and KP in line with orders of the Supreme Court. The electoral body has already issued a schedule for polls in Punjab but has yet to do so for KP.

Related Articles

Leave a Comment