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May 8, 2013

Kayani stresses teamwork to ensure security on polling day

Top Story

May 8, 2013

KARACHI: Chief of the Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani on Tuesday directed the army, civilian law enforcement forces and intelligence agencies to work as a team and implement an integrated security plan to ensure law and order during the May 11 general elections.
Presiding over a meeting of top security officials at the 5 Corps headquarters in Karachi, by Sindh Chief Secretary Muhammad Ijaz Chaudhry, Commander Corps 5 Lt. General Muhammad Ijaz Chaudhry, Director General Rangers Sindh Major General Rizwan Akhtar, IGP Sindh Shahid Nadeem Baloch, Sindh Home Secretary Muhammad Waseem, heads of Intelligence Bureau, other intelligence agencies and Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) officials.
General Kayani reviewed the election security arrangements in Karachi and in the rest of Sindh during the meeting wherein the Sindh Police chief, DG Rangers, Sindh, and Commander Corps 5 briefed him on the deployment of military and civilian forces to ensure security during the May 11 polls.
Briefing the media about the decisions taken at the meeting, Director General ISPR Major General Asim Saleem Bajwa said a 10,000-strong contingent of the army personnel, backed by helicopters, had been deployed in Karachi as Quick Response Force in addition to 39,000 police and Rangers to ensure peace and security in the port city on the eve of May 11 general elections.
The Pakistan Army troops will not be posted at the polling stations and instead will remain mobile on roads and in the air to assist the police and Rangers deployed in Karachi as part of election security arrangements, he said.
The DG ISPR said that as many as 124,000 security personnel, including 104,000 police and Rangers, in addition to 20,000 army troops had been deployed in entire Sindh.
“The Pakistan Army personnel in Karachi and the rest of Sindh will act as Quick Reaction Force, patrol on roads and in the air and will assist the police and Rangers in maintenance of law and order situation depending upon the situation” he added.
Responding to a query, he said the army personnel had been deployed in Sindh, especially Karachi, on the basis of intelligence information and they would not be concentrated in any particular area or areas of the city.
“Instead, they have been deployed under a well-coordinated security plan and will move to assist the police and Rangers in case their need arises,” he said. He refused to give any date of withdrawal of army from the city, indicating that army will remain on the streets beyond May 11 general elections date.
To another query regarding provision of security in moving the ballot boxes and results after the polling was over, he said this would be decided by the ECP as to what they wanted the army to do for their assistance.
Major General Bajwa said army personnel would act in tiered response to security situations during the polling day as foremost responsibility to maintain law and order lies on the shoulders of police and Rangers.
He said the Pakistan Army had assumed three major responsibilities as part of May 11 elections which include security of printing presses where ballot papers were printed, transportation of ballot papers to different areas of the country and maintenance of law and order before and during the polls.
“Army personnel provided security at four printing presses, included two in Karachi, where ballot papers were printed, transported the ballot papers to Balochistan, which is almost complete while shifting of ballot papers to Sindh and the Punjab is under way,” he added.
He said the army chief stressed upon all the stakeholders to implement a well-integrated and well-coordinated security plan in letter and spirit to ensure holding of peaceful and smooth general elections on May 11.
The army chief also asked all the civilian agencies, police, Rangers, army, intelligence agencies and ECP officials to work together as a team and support each other in making the electoral process a success.
The DG ISPR said the army chief had earlier reviewed the election security arrangements in Quetta where a similar quick reaction force comprising army troops and backed by helicopters had already been deployed.