ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Monday requested deployment of army troops at all three printing presses, where the ballot paper for General Election 2018 will be printed. The Ministry of Defence had agreed to provide 350,000 troops for election duties as requested by the electoral body, sources said on June 21. The army will take over the security of the Printing Corporation of Pakistan, which published ballot papers, from June 27 whereas it will take up election duties four days before the July 25 polls.
The electoral body sent a summary of the request to the Ministry of Defence. According to information received through sources, printing presses in Karachi, Lahore, and Islamabad will be secured by the armed forces.
The distribution of ballot papers will also be done under the army’s supervision, sources said. Sources had earlier said the defence ministry decided to call back for the purpose army, air force and navy personnel who retired in the last two years. The retired personnel will also enjoy complete powers that are given to serving military personnel on election duty, sources added.
The ECP had written a summary to the defence ministry seeking 350,000 troops for election duty. Last week, the ECP had declared that army personnel would be posted inside and outside the polling stations as well as at the printing press from June 27 till polling day.
Though the army has been deployed to secure the general elections before, such a high number has never been seen earlier.
According to media reports, with 350,000 available personnel, the armed forces will be able to post two security officials inside and two outside the around 85,000 polling stations.
The Pakistan Army had also spared around 200,000 troops to conduct the Sixth Population and Housing Census of the country last year.