Over half of Rawalpindi’s polling stations declared ‘highly sensitive’

election commission of Pakistan

RAWALPINDI: In preparation for the forthcoming general elections on February 8, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has disclosed that 1,558 out of the 2,777 designated polling stations in Rawalpindi district have been identified as sensitive, Dawn News reported.

Among the identified polling stations, 580 fall under the A-Category of “highly sensitive,” while 978 have been designated as “sensitive” and placed in Category-B. Sources suggest that troops are likely to be deployed at the highly sensitive polling stations on the day of the election. All Station House Officers (SHOs) in the respective areas have been directed to assess the security situation.

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Decisions regarding security arrangements were made during a high-level meeting convened to ensure foolproof measures for the polling day. Senior police officers have been instructed to hold meetings with Returning Officers (ROs) and Assistant Returning Officers (AROs), maintaining constant communication with them regarding security arrangements.

Additionally, police officers have been tasked with estimating the number of CCTV cameras required at sensitive polling stations. They are also expected to identify highly sensitive areas where troops, Rangers, and Quick Response Force (QRF) personnel will be stationed. The identification of areas for checkposts and standby positions for reserve forces has also been mandated.

Each SHO has been mandated to secure surety bonds for those organizing public meetings and processions. The choice of event locations must prioritize security, with all details recorded in the daily report (Roznamcha) of respective police stations. Strict departmental action awaits any police official found absent from duty.

Control rooms are set to be established to monitor the security situation during the transportation of polling materials to the designated polling stations.

Rawalpindi district comprises seven National Assembly and 14 Provincial Assembly seats, catering to 3,307,083 registered voters. The ECP has issued guidelines for the efficient administration of the elections, focused on transparent processes and secure transportation of polling staff and materials.

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The ECP directive also emphasises completing all transportation and communication plans, along with other arrangements, five days before polling day. This information is to be shared with provisional election commissioners who will submit it to the ECP central control room located in the Secretariat.

According to the ECP’s guidelines, the police and Regional Transport Authority claim to have accomplished 90 per cent of the task related to providing transport for election duty.

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