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ECP Seeks Army Deployment for Polls Amid Police Shortage

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has asked the Ministry of Interior to provide the services of the Pakistan Army and the civil armed forces (CAFs) to ensure the law and order situation during the general elections, scheduled for February 8 next year.

The ECP made this request after receiving reports from all the inspector generals of police (IGPs) of the provinces and the capital, stating that they did not have enough police personnel to perform the election duties.

According to the ECP, there is a collective shortfall of 277,588 police personnel across the country. The breakdown of the deficiency is as follows: 4,500 in Islamabad, 169,110 in Punjab, 56,717 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 33,462 in Sindh, and 13,769 in Balochistan.

In a letter to the interior ministry secretary, the ECP secretary said that in view of the fragile security and law and order situation in the country, it was necessary to requisition the army and CAFs in static mode, meaning that they would be deployed at the polling stations to assist the presiding officers and the returning officers.

The ECP secretary also asked the interior ministry to inform the election commission about the availability of the army and CAFs before December 7, and to extend its full cooperation and support in the national cause.

The ECP has already notified the final list of delimitation of constituencies of the national and four provincial assemblies, and is expected to announce the election schedule later this month, 54 days before the polls as per the law.

The ECP has stated that it is the responsibility of the law enforcement agencies to improve the law-and-order situation in all the constituencies and that the Centre and the provinces are constitutionally obliged to support the ECP.

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