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Troops to only improve security situation: GQ rep

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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: A representative of the General Headquarters (GHQ,) the Pakistan Army main office, informed the Senate Standing Committee of Interior that troop were only involved to ensure foolproof security on July 25 when the country goes to the polls.

Addressing the important committee’s meeting on Thursday, the army’s representative said that the troops were liable to follow the electoral body’s code of conduct, adding, “We are only working to improve the security situation on the instructions of Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP),”

Responding to Senator Kulsoom Parveen’s question as to how many troops will be sent to Balochistan, the armed forces’ representative said deployment of troops will be done as required.

“We have assessed areas for their security needs. Planning of the security arrangements should be left on us. We know how many troops are to be deployed in different areas,” they said.

It should be noted that the army’s representative said that the troops also have to perform the duties of the police until the latter’s capabilities improve significantly.

“We took extraordinary measures when polls were held in Afghanistan. Now the Afghan president has assured the prime minister and army chief, over the phone, of cooperation,” they said.

The GHQ representative also clarified that there was no hindrance in communication with the electoral body.

‘Troops will work under presiding officers’

ECP secretary Babar Yaqoob ensure the committee that the army troops will not be working independently, but instead will be under the command of presiding officers.

Addressing the committee’s meeting today, the ECP secretary said an impression exists that the troops will work independently.

Yaqoob clarified that the army personnel deployed across the country on July 25 will work under presiding officers. He further stated that a written code of conduct was in place to this effect.

ecp

ECP Secretary Babar Yaqoob Fateh Muhammad on Thursday, July 19, 2018, apprised the Senate Standing Committee on Interior that army troops will not work independently during the polls. [Photo: Geo News]

The electoral body’s secretary said that army personnel will be liable to inform the presiding officer and returning officer if anyone attempts to fill ballot boxes, after which the prescribed method will be followed.

“Troops will only aid in holding peaceful polls,” he informed the Senate’s interior committee.

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