Pakistan’s federal cabinet approves deployment of army for elections


ISLAMABAD – Pakistan’s federal cabinet on Tuesday approved a summary seeking deployment of military troops during the General Election.

With the February 8 elections drawing closer, the Ministry of Interior remitted its summary regarding the deployment of the armed forces during the upcoming polls.

The development comes after the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) sought 277,000 army personnel to be deployed across the country to maintain security and law and order situation across the country. At least 126 million Pakistani voters will choose their representatives next month.

With the year 2023 culminating as one of the worst since 2015 in terms of terror-related incidents, the country’s upcoming polls are surrounded by doubts over the security and safety of both candidates and voters.

Despite several violent incidents and attacks on candidates, political parties have been continuing their electioneering efforts to woo voters. However, several politicians have voiced concerns over the law and order situation — with some even moving the Senate seeking poll delay.

Earlier this month, an independent candidate, Kaleemullah Khan — who was eyeing to contest polls for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly’s PK-104 — was shot dead in North Waziristan.

Hours later, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Shah Khalid was killed in Swabi after unidentified assailants riding a motorcycle opened fire on his car.

Additionally, several other leaders including Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) Aslam Buledi, National Democratic Movement’s (NDM) Mohsin Dawar and National Party’s Lala Abdul Rasheed and Senator Kohda Akram Dashti also came under attack in the ongoing month.

Owing to the precarious situation, caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar has formed a high-level committee to oversee security for the polls.

Meanwhile, the Pakistan Army has vowed to provide necessary military assistance for the upcoming general elections. Personnel of the Pakistan Army, the Rangers and Frontier Constabulary (FC) will perform election duties on February 8.

Authorities decided to seek the army’s help for the elections due to an acute shortage of security personnel. Punjab, the country’s election battleground, faces a shortage of 92,000 security personnel at polling stations. In Sindh, Karachi Police are facing a shortage of 14,300 security personnel.

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