ECP States Military To Secure Transport Of Ballot Papers
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has addressed concerns about the security of ballot papers during their transportation to the offices of District Returning Officers (DROs) for the upcoming general elections. In response to media reports, the ECP announced that personnel from the Pakistan Army would accompany ECP staff during the delivery of ballot papers to designated locations, particularly in sensitive areas where security concerns are heightened.
The clarification provided by the ECP spokesperson emphasized that once the ballot papers are printed in the press, it becomes the responsibility of the relevant DROs or their designated officials to ensure their safe transportation to the DRO offices. These officers are tasked with overseeing the secure transport of the ballot papers, with the protective custody of local police officials traditionally providing security. However, due to the gravity of the security situation in certain areas, the ECP has decided to involve Pakistan Army personnel to provide additional security during the transportation of the crucial election materials.
This announcement comes against the backdrop of the upcoming general elections scheduled for February 8, 2024. The decision to involve the military in providing necessary security assistance to the ECP was made during the 261st Corps Commanders’ Conference held at the General Headquarters. Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Syed Asim Munir presided over the conference, where it was underscored that the armed forces would extend requisite and necessary support to ensure the smooth conduct of the general elections.
The move to involve the Pakistan Army in securing the transportation of ballot papers reflects a proactive approach by the ECP to address potential security challenges, especially in areas where the risk is perceived to be higher. By collaborating with the military, the ECP aims to enhance the security measures surrounding the vital electoral materials, contributing to the overall integrity and fairness of the electoral process. This decision aligns with efforts to create a secure environment for voters and election officials, promoting trust in the electoral system as the nation prepares for a significant democratic exercise.