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Rawalpindi, Islamabad enter polls with security on ‘high alert’

ISLAMABAD/RAWALPINDI: On the eve of the general elections, the security in Islamabad and Rawalpindi was further increased to counter any untoward incidents, with additional police officials deployed at entry and exit points of the twin cities.

In Islamabad, the threat alert level rose to ‘amber’ on Wednesday, the police said.

Their spokesperson added there were five types of security alerts: blue, green, yellow, orange, and red to deal with different situations.

The amber alert is usually issued in the United States in case a child goes missing.

PRO Taqi Jawad said the amber level alert, which is the third-level alert, has been put in place in Islamabad keeping in view of the prevailing security situation in the country.

All persons, including those in uniform, entering the polling stations will be allowed to enter after verification.

For elections, at least 2,000 officials of the Islamabad police will be patrolling in Pakistani flag hoisting official and private vehicles for identification, he said, adding that besides, the other forces deputed for security would also hoist flags on their vehicles.

Police said CCTV cameras were also installed at 124, 108, and 72 polling stations for NA-46, NA-47 and NA-48, respectively, which were declared most sensitive. 49 polling stations in NA-46, 59 in NA-47, and 27 in NA-48 have been declared sensitive.

The measures taken by the police aimed to counter clashes/feuds amongst supporters of rival parties and candidates, sabotage of the election process, targeting of political activists, and terror incidents, including suicide bombing.

A control room under the supervision of DSP Telecommunication will be set up which will receive and disseminate all the relevant information to the quarters concerned.

The SSP Logistics is requested to establish a base set at IMCB F-11/1 – camp office of the returning officer NA-46; FG Boys Higher Secondary T&T Centre G-8/4 – NA-47’s RO camp office – and IMCB Chak Shahzad – NA-48 RO camp office.

The bomb disposal squad team shall remain on standby at the Special Branch office to meet any eventuality. These five mobile teams will be attached with the DPOs concerned supervising the division.

Adequate security will be provided to foreign observers visiting polling stations and the SSP Security Division will be responsible for security/escort during the movement of foreign observers.

The AIG Special Branch is requested to depute the strength in plain clothes at various points in the district and collect advance information and report to the official concerned.

Since an unusual movement of vehicles is expected in connection with the elections today, the traffic police officials were asked to make suitable parking arrangements.

Similarly, the CDA, fire brigade, and hospital authorities have also been taken in the loop in case of any emergency.

Meanwhile, distribution of election materials in 990 polling stations established in Islamabad is completed, District Returning Officer Irfan Nawaz Memon said.

High alert in Pindi

In Rawalpindi, the security level was raised to “high alert” and additional personnel had been deployed at the train station, bus stops, and other public locations.

Nine police checkpoints have been established at the entry points of the garrison city.

Around 4,390 military and paramilitary personnel, who will assist the police as the Quick Response Force (QRF) to ensure foolproof security to 5,490 polling stations in Rawalpindi and four districts, Attock, Jhelum and Chakwal, have already arrived in the division.

The process of delivery of election material from returning officers’ offices has started amid tight security as 9,500 police personnel have also been deployed to maintain peace for Feb 8 polls.

The district has been divided into 280 clusters regarding security and Elite Force commandos’ vehicles have started patrolling each cluster.

As many as nine police pickets have been set up at the exit and entry points at Faizabad, Cricket Stadium I.J. Principal Road, Khanna Bridge, Pirwadhai Moor, Koral, Khawaja Corporation, Morgah, Peshawar Moor and Jhavra.

Meanwhile, the City Traffic Police have taken an initiative to facilitate citizens to cast their vote by offering to collect their CNIC from the relevant traffic sector and no challan will be issued on the CNIC on February 8, the polling day.