A day ahead of the crucial elections in Punjab, Chief Election Commissioner Sikander Sultan Raja on Saturday termed deployment of Pakistan Army troops in July 17 by-polls mandatory.
In a statement, the CEC stressed that the deployment of military personnel was necessary to safeguard voters. He also directed the Secretary of the Election Commission of Pakistan to set up a Lahore camp office in order to review the arrangements for security and holding elections.
ECP Secretary Omar Hameed Khan later reached the provincial capital and set up a camp as directed.
Meanwhile, Interior Ministry, on the request of the top electoral authority, has decided to deploy 2,000 Frontier Crops personnel owing to law and order situation during the polls.
According to Omar Hameed Khan, the decision has been made in view of fears of clashes between political opponents. He added that no attempt at creating unrest will be tolerated, saying indiscriminate action will be taken against the miscreants.
Khan maintained that the ECP enjoyed complete support of the state institutions and that had been assured improved arrangements and stringent security.
The secretary ECP urged the public to come out of their homes on the polling day without fear and exercise their right to vote.
A day earlier, the electoral watchdog instructed the political parties to follow the provision of law and exercise self-restraint so that polls could be held in a peaceful manner and warned that legal action would be taken against the violators.
Meanwhile, the military has said that it has carried out reconnaissance of most sensitive locations in the respective areas as third tier responders to any law and order situation.
In a statement, the Inter-Services Public Relations said that the activity was carried out in line with the directions of the ECP for tomorrow’s by-elections.
The military’s media wing further said that the troops will perform Quick Reaction Force duties in case of any law and order situation during the polls.