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July 26, 2018

Extraordinary security arrangements: Large turnout in KP despite terror fears


July 26, 2018

PESHAWAR: Polling was held in most parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in a peaceful environment as extraordinary security arrangements were made by the police and army for the general election.

Apart from minor incidents, no major incident of violence was reported from any part of the province. Around 88,000 policemen along worth 66 platoons of the Frontier Constabulary were deployed in the province for security during the polls.

Apart from heavy deployment of the police and army at polling stations and entry points of the city, security personnel in helicopters continuously kept a close eye on any suspicious movement in the provincial capital.

Policemen at the Control Room also kept an eye on different parts of the city via live coverage through drone cameras. A Central Control Room was established at East Cantonment Police Station in Peshawar to closely monitor the election process.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Iqbal Zafar Jhagra, the chief secretary and inspector general of police and other officials visited the Control Room to inspect the security arrangements in the city and rest of the province. The chief secretary and IGP along with senior army officials also visited different polling stations in Peshawar. “No major incident was reported from any part of the provincial capital throughout the day. Polling was completed in all parts of Peshawar in a peaceful manner,” Capital City Police Officer Qazi Jamilur Rehman told The News.

He pointed out that over 8,000 policemen had been deployed at 1,190 polling stations in Peshawar. The official said that 12 teams of the bomb disposal unit and 10 canine units remained busy all over the provincial capital during the polls. “During the day, 17 teams of the Quick Response Force, another 50 teams of Reserves with anti-riot squads and 20 units of the City Patrol Force remained alert throughout the day to respond to any eventuality,” Qazi Jamilur Rehman added.

Checkpoints were established at 70 places in Peshawar to keep an eye on suspicious elements. As many as 3,174 polling stations were declared most sensitive and 5,394 as sensitive all over the province for security point of view. Apart from the police, army and Frontier Constabulary, cops from Azad Jammu and Kashmir also performed security duty at polling stations and other places during the election.

In some of the polling stations, women turned up in small numbers to cast their vote. “At the polling station in Haji Banda, Achini no woman turned up when I visited the place. Later, I was told that a few women turned up to cast their vote,” Amna Durrani, provincial coordinator for the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Commission on the Status of Women, told The News.

Clashes between female supporters of two rival candidates were reported in Faqirabad and some other parts of the city. Aerial firing was also reported at a polling station in Sarki Gate after a clash between supporters of two rival candidates. However, no casualty was reported.

Though there were fears after a number of terror incidents in the country during the last few days, people turned up in large numbers at the polling stations to poll their vote.

Awami National Party candidate for PK-78 Haroon Bashir Bilour and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf nominee for PK-99 Sardar Ikramullah Gandapur were killed along with many others in separate attacks during the last two weeks.

Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal candidate for NA-35 Akram Khan Durrani also survived a bomb attack on his convoy in Bannu and a subsequent firing incident. As many as 149 people were killed in an attack on the election rally of Balochistan Awami Party candidate for PB-35 Siraj Raisani in Mastung district in Balochistan. A suicide attack outside a polling station in Quetta on the polling day took the lives of 31 persons.

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