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Pakistani soldiers stand guard as election officials carry election materials at a distribution centre in Islamabad on July 24, 2018. Pakistan will hold its general election on July 25. / AFP PHOTO / Aamir QURESHI

Politics

Government Approves Army Deployment for Security during By-Elections

ISLAMABAD: In response to a request from the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for enhanced security measures during the upcoming by-elections across the country, the federal government has sanctioned the deployment of troops from the Pakistan Army and Civil Armed Forces (CAF).

The armed forces units will serve as a quick response force, with the Ministry of Interior issuing an official order to this effect. The notification outlines that the CAF and Pakistan Army units will act as secondary and tertiary layers of security and will be on standby until April 22 in 21 constituencies.

The specifics regarding the number of troops, duration of deployment, areas of operation, and deployment protocols will be determined by the ECP in collaboration with all relevant stakeholders, based on ground assessments and security needs. The decision regarding the withdrawal of deployed forces will be made subsequently through mutual consultation among stakeholders.

Additionally, the Punjab government has requested the suspension of mobile internet services in 13 districts and tehsils on April 21, the day preceding the by-polls. This measure aims to maintain law and order and prevent any potential disturbances during the electoral process.

Election 2024: Mobile phone service suspended across Pakistan as polling  begins - Pakistan Observer

The request for the suspension of mobile internet services covers various districts, including Lahore, Sheikhupura, Kasur, Sadiqabad, Kot Chutta, and Dera Ghazi Khan, as well as several tehsils such as Talagang, Chakwal, Kallar Kahar, Gujrat, Ali Pur Chatha, Zafarwal, and Bhakkar.

Notably, similar measures were taken on February 8, despite assurances from the government regarding uninterrupted network connectivity during elections.

The upcoming by-elections will be held for 21 seats across different provinces, including Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), and Balochistan. These include both the National Assembly and provincial assembly constituencies, with vacant seats in various districts and tehsils. The by-polls hold significance as they will determine new representatives for constituencies left vacant due to various reasons, including resignations and unfortunate incidents.

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