Pakistan Army Ensures Secure Ballot Transport Amid Election Preparations

As Pakistan gears up for its 2024 general elections, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has confirmed that the Pakistan Army is playing a crucial role in safeguarding the democratic process. The military has been tasked with the secure transportation of ballot papers to district returning officers in sensitive regions, ensuring the integrity of the electoral materials.

The ECP’s announcement comes in response to concerns about the security of ballot papers during transit. A spokesperson for the commission clarified that while the primary responsibility for the safe delivery of ballot papers lies with the district returning officers (DROs) and their designated officials, the gravity of the situation in certain areas necessitates additional security measures.

Following the printing of ballot papers, it is the duty of the concerned DROs to oversee their transportation to the offices of DROs. This process is conducted under the supervision of local police officials who ensure the protective custody of the ballot papers. However, given the heightened security concerns in some regions, the Pakistan Army has been called upon to provide additional support.

This decision aligns with the Pakistan Army’s commitment, expressed on December 28, 2023, to assist the ECP with the necessary military support for the upcoming polls scheduled for February 8, 2024. The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) stated that the army would extend the required support to the ECP, as decided during the 261st Corps Commanders’ Conference presided over by Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Syed Asim Munir.

The involvement of the army in the electoral process is not unprecedented in Pakistan. The military has previously been engaged in various capacities to ensure the smooth conduct of elections. Their role in providing security during the transportation of ballot papers is seen as a measure to prevent any potential disruptions and maintain public confidence in the electoral system.

As the nation anticipates the upcoming elections, the ECP continues to work diligently to facilitate the democratic rights of all citizens. The commission has also called for applications for postal ballots, catering to armed forces personnel stationed at national borders, policemen, and government officials who are posted away from their residential areas.

The deadline for postal ballot applications has been set for January 22, 2024, as part of the ECP’s efforts to ensure that all eligible voters, including those with disabilities and those serving the country in various capacities, can exercise their right to vote.

The ECP’s proactive measures, coupled with the support of the Pakistan Army, underscore the country’s commitment to conducting free, fair, and secure elections. As Pakistan moves forward on its democratic path, the collaboration between civil and military institutions serves as a testament to the nation’s resolve to uphold the sanctity of the electoral process.

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