ISLAMABAD: The federal government on Thursday released Rs9 billion to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to make sure that the security situation is good during the upcoming general elections.
Sources told this scribe that Pakistan Army has demanded Rs9 billion from the finance ministry for the elections security as some 371,388 troops will perform their duties in the 48,500 polling stations across the country.
ECP had sent the summary to finance division and it was requested that 50 per cent will be for security and rest will be for the expenditure. However, sources said that finance division released the whole Rs9 billion for security purposes.
“The high ups of finance ministry including the finance secretary remained silent on this move as sources said that it is a responsibility of the armed forces to provide security,” sources added.
Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General (DG) Major General Asif Ghafoor on July 10 had stated that ECP has tasked the armed forces to assist them in the upcoming general elections to conduct the elections in a free, fair and transparent manner.
This is not a new phenomenon that troops have been asked to assist in the elections. The data shows that in 1997, 192,000 troops were deployed at 35,000 polling stations. Similarly, in 2002, there were 64,470 polling stations but the army deployment was lower this time at 30,500. In 2008, there were 64,176 polling stations and only 39,000 troops were deployed. Furthermore, 75,000 troops were deployed in 2013 elections.
Pakistan Today made a number of attempts to contact the finance secretary and spokesperson of ECP but they did not reply till the filing of this story.