Elections 2013: Army to finalise election security with ECP today

ISLAMABAD: Top military commanders are scheduled to meet in the garrison city of Rawalpindi today (Wednesday) to finalise their plan on assisting the Election Commission of Pakistan in holding free, fair and peaceful parliamentary polls in May.

The army has already decided to deploy troops at sensitive polling stations across the country but has yet to announce its plan regarding the number of soldiers that will be spared for the crucial exercise.

The ECP is believed to have already submitted its detailed security plan to the military authorities. Sources familiar with the development told media that the corps commanders will review ECP’s plan and take a final decision.

“The army will extend all possible help to the election commission but at the same time make sure that it does not affect its other engagements,” said a military official, referring to preoccupation of military in fighting militancy.

The official added that the meeting, to be chaired by army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, would consider all aspects and take a decision accordingly.
Ahead of the important meeting, General Kayani also met the newly-appointed caretaker prime minister Mir Hazar Khan Khoso.

According to an official statement, the army chief congratulated Khoso on assuming charge as the interim premier. The two also discussed issues related to parliamentary elections particularly with reference to law and order situation in the country.

Kayani is also expected to brief his commanders about his talks with US Secretary of State John Kerry in the Jordanian capital, Amman on Sunday.

This is the second meeting of corps commanders in less than three weeks. However, military authorities attempted to play it down, saying, “It is a routine meeting to discuss professional matters as well as the prevailing security situation.”