Top Pak military brass review polling arrangements, 350,000 troops to be deployed

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RAWALPINDI: Corps Commanders Conference chaired by the Chief ofArmy Staff Qamer Javed Bajwa met at the GHQ onWednesday.

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan military ‘stop brass discussed how to help the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in conducting free, fair, and transparent general elections on Wednesday. “The Chief of Army Staff directed that this national duty be performed with the utmost responsibility and without losing any focus on defense and internal security challenges in hand,” the Inter Services Public Relations said in a statement after the corps commanders’ meeting.
Earlier this week, the EC Requested the deployment of 350,000 troops during the general elections scheduled for July 25. The corps commanders ‘conference, chaired by the army chief, also reviewed the geo-strategic environment and the recent security and other related developments in the region. Military commanders also reviewed the progress of Operation Radd ul Fassad (elimination of discord) with commitment to achieve lasting peace and stability.
In February 2017, the Pakistan military launched Operation Radd ul Fassad—an intelligence-based operation across the country — to consolidate the gains made in previous military offensives in the war on terror. 2,000 women candidates According to the Election Commission of Pakistan, 152 women candidates have filed their nomination papers in Balochistan — as well as 350 from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, 403 from Sindh province and 1,100 from Punjab province — to contest the election to be held on July 25. Political analysts said that the increasing participation of women in the electoral process was a healthy sign for democracy in the country.
They, however, linked the number of women candidates to the Elections Act’s provision that makes it mandatory for political parties to allocate at least five percent of their tickets to women candidates. “A political party … while making the selection of candidates on general seats shall ensure at least five percent representation of women candidates,” the Elections Act 2017 states.
Rasul Bukhsh Rais, a political analyst, said that the Elections Act had helped to create space for women candidates to contest elections and credit was due to the previous parliament for passing this historic law. There are a total of 342 seats in the National Assembly and 272 of them are filled by direct elections.
In addition, the Pakistani constitution reserves 10 seats for religious minorities and 60 seats for women, to be filled by proportional representation among parliamentary parties. Likewise, a total of 128 seats are reserved for women in the provincial assemblies, including 66 in Punjab, 29 in Sindh, 22 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and 11 in Balochistan. Postal ballot The Election Commission has allowed people with physical disabilities to cast their votes through postal ballots.
The ECP had extensive deliberations on Tuesday, after which the decision was taken to enable physically challenged people to cast their votes. “All those having Computerized National Identity Cards, issued by National Database Registration Authority, with the status of disabled person can avail the post ballot paper facility by July 5,” the ECP said in a statement.
People with physical disabilities have for a long time been asking the government, political parties and concerned state institutions to create an environment enabling them to cast their votes and their political participations. Troop’s deployment Election Commission has sent a formal request to the Ministry of Defense for deployment of soldiers outside and inside of polling stations to ensure peaceful elections and deal with any untoward incident on polling day.
Election Commission seeks deployment of troops at polling stations from 23rd to 26th July for foolproof security. “Troops will also be deployed at Printing Corporation of Pakistan Press Islamabad, National Printing Security Company Karachi, and Pakistan Post Foundation Islamabad during printing and dispatch of ballot papers from 27th June to 26th July, 2018,” the ECP said in a statement.