ECP’s preparation for general polls in full swing
The provincial authorities have confirmed and started initial process to install surveillance cameras at around 20,000 sensitive polling stations in the country for upcoming general election. Of the total around 85,000 polling stations for next general election, some 20,000 were likely to be declared sensitive, Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) Secretary Babar Yaqoob Fateh Muhammad said.
He gave a detailed briefing to Senate Standing Committee on Interior and Narcotics Control about measures being taken to ensure external and internal security of the polling stations during election 2018. Senator Rahman Malik chaired the meeting which was also attended by members of the committee including Senators Kalsoom Parveen, Javed Abbasi, Chaudhry Tanvir Khan, Muhammad Asad Ali Khan Junejo, Azam Khan Swati, Muhammad Ateeq Sheikh, Muhammad Azam Khan Musakhel, Secretary Interior, Inspector General of Police Islamabad, Chairman National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) and other senior officials of Ministry of Interior and its departments.
Under the plan, three security cameras will be installed at each polling booth. Two cameras will be installed in the area where the polling staff issue ballot papers and verifies the voters, while another will be at the entrance of each booth. The secretary said installation of cameras at sensitive polling stations is requirement of law. The basic objective of monitoring through cameras is to ensure free and fair election, he added.
Answering a question, Babar Yaqoob said the law also permits footage of these cameras can be used as witness in courts. Moreover, he informed that training of returning officers is expected to be completed by May 31, while training of other relevant staff would be completed next month. With regard to deployment of army at polling stations, he said, meetings for the purpose have already been convened.
He also highlighted other steps being taken regarding compilation of results. The committee is ready for all possible help to election commission, Rehman Malik said. He said security is very important during elections and there is need to provide fool-proof security to politicians during coming days. The committee condemned terrorist attacks on security forces in Quetta and expressed grief over martyrdom of army and police officers. Rahman Malik said the government should submit details to committee on recent incidents of terrorism in Quetta.