Pakistan on high alert for elections: 90,000 polling stations, tight security deployed

ISLAMABAD (PEN) : With the general elections just a couple of days away, the country is preparing for a secure and smooth voting process. Around 90,675 polling stations have been established across the country, with 18,437 categorized as highly sensitive or sensitive due to potential security risks.

Moreover, 26,628 polling stations have been declared sensitive and 44,610 normal. In Punjab, 6,040 polling stations have been declared highly sensitive, 4,143 in KP, 6,524 in Sindh and 1,730 in Balochistan.

According to police officials, 26,000 officers, including 2,000 women, are being deployed for the security of more than 4,300 polling stations in Lahore.

Security Arrangements:

  • Nationwide Deployment: Over 30,000 police officers will be deployed in Punjab, while Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will see over 150,000 security personnel, including police, Frontier Constabulary, Frontier Corps, and army personnel.
  • Sensitive Areas: Highly sensitive areas and polling stations have been geo-tagged by the Lahore police for enhanced monitoring. Stringent action will be taken against violations of Section 40, which prohibits carrying weapons near polling stations. Surety bonds have also been obtained from hostile groups.
  • Surveillance and Response: Over 30,000 CCTV cameras have been installed at a cost of over Rs1 billion, and quick response forces from various security agencies will be on standby.

    From January 1 to February 5, 519 search operations have been carried out, 51,000 people checked and 10 fugitives arrested. For the security of 49,000 polling stations of Punjab, 130,000 officers have been deployed, while 30,000 CCTV cameras have been installed at a cost of Rs1.35 billion and geo-tagging of highly sensitive areas and polling stations completed.Strict action will be taken against the violation of Section 144.  Police officials say that Pakistan Army, Rangers and police forces will ensure patrolling on election day.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Preparations:

  • Personnel and Polling Stations: 150,838 personnel will be deployed to secure the 15,697 polling stations in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, with 5,463 classified as sensitive and 4,134 as highly sensitive.
  • Ballot Papers and Delays: 4.44 million ballot papers have been printed and distributed across the province. Elections in three constituencies have been postponed due to the death of candidates.
  • Training and Readiness: Over 166,000 staff have been trained for election duties, and security arrangements are in place even in snowy areas.

Voters and Expectations:

  • Over 120 Million Eligible Voters: More than 120 million people are registered to vote in the elections, hoping to elect representatives for the National Assembly and provincial assemblies.
  • Stable Government and Economic Concerns: Public opinion surveys suggest a desire for a stable government that can address economic challenges, unemployment, and social issues.
  • Peaceful and Fair Elections: Despite security concerns, citizens hope for a peaceful and fair electoral process that reflects their will.

With millions of voters eager to participate and extensive security measures in place, the upcoming elections in Pakistan hold significant implications for the country’s future. Whether the polls will usher in a new era of stability and progress remains to be seen, but the preparations and anticipation highlight the importance of this democratic exercise for the Pakistani people.