Pakistan to deploy 70,000 troops during polls

Islamabad, May 3 (IANS) The Pakistan Army has started deployment of 70,000 troops for election-related duties that would include security and maintenance of peace and order, a military spokesman said.

Elections would be held May 11 for the lower house of parliament, the National Assembly, and for four provincial assemblies — Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The responsibilities assigned to the army include provision of security for printing presses where ballot papers are being printed, safe transportation of ballot papers and election material to election officers and polling stations, Xinhua quoted Major General Asim Saleem Bajwa, director-general of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), as saying.

He said printing of ballot papers has been continuing since April 19 and troops are guarding the printing presses concerned.

Bajwa said police and paramilitary forces would guard polling stations on election day while the Quick Response Force of the Pakistan Army would remain on standby for assistance.

He said a comprehensive security plan is in place and arrangements have been made for deployment of helicopter-borne units of the Quick Response Force to respond to any eventuality.

He said 50 helicopters would also be used for election-related duties and surveillance purposes.

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