In order to provide security during the elections, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) requested that the interior ministry obtain the assistance of the armed forces.
The Ministry of Defence, in a letter to the interior ministry, regretfully informed that it could not provide the deployment of Rangers and FC forces due to the infeasibility of armed forces deployment. There is a growing threat of terrorism in the country, which is why the armed forces and civil armed forces are currently engaged in border management and internal security management, according to the ministry.
However, the Punjab Rangers, the Quick Response Force, will be available during the election. On the other hand, the Ministry of Finance, in response to the ECP’s request for an additional grant, has asked the election-conducting authority to delay its demand in the wider national interest. According to the finance ministry, the grant request should be postponed until the economic situation of the country improves.
Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s top police officers have informed the ECP that ensuring security during the elections is difficult due to recent security challenges.
The Inspector-General of KP Police, Moazzam Jah Ansari, warned that the next elections may not be completely peaceful and that there is a shortage of 57,000 police personnel for security during the polls, which cannot be met even after seeking assistance from the Azad Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan police. Additionally, the IG shared statistics of attacks on law enforcement in KP and called for assistance from the Pakistan Army and Frontier Corps.
The Punjab IGP, Dr Usman Anwar, also highlighted the challenges of conducting elections amid growing terrorism threats in the province. According to him, the police operation in South Punjab’s rural areas and other districts of the province will take four to five months to complete, making it impossible to conduct elections until then.
Punjab’s top police officer stated that almost 300,000 additional soldiers are required to meet the shortfall of 412,852 police personnel required for security during the elections, and that the Pakistan Army and Rangers will be needed to help. Dr. Anwar also reported that 213 terror incidents have been prevented since December 2022 due to prior information, and that almost all districts in the province have agency reports about terror incidents.