56,000 additional police personnel required for PA elections: govt

PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government on Tuesday said it would require 56,000 additional police personnel to make security arrangements for the upcoming provincial assembly polls.

It also insisted that 1,500 Frontier Corps personnel would be needed for the security of political leaders during election campaigns, according to an official statement issued after a high-level meeting on the law and order situation regarding the upcoming electoral exercise.

Caretaker Chief Minister Mohammad Azam Khan chaired the meeting, which was attended by chief secretary Imdadullah Bosal, Inspector General of Police Akhtar Hayat Khan, principal secretary to the chief minister Amjad Ali Khan, home and tribal affairs secretary Khushal Khan and other senior police officials.

Officials briefed the chief minister on various aspects of the overall security situation regarding the upcoming elections in the province.

They said that for the first time, elections in merged and settled districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa would be held simultaneously, but the available strength of police force was insufficient for election security.

CM to apprise governor of law and order situation

The officials said that in view of the “law and order dynamics” of tribal districts, special security arrangements would be required for elections in the region.

They said that the provincial government would require more than 56,000 additional police personnel for election security and 1,500 Frontier Corps officials for the security of political leaders during election campaigns.

The officials said in light of a presentation given in the meeting and recommendations of the law-enforcement agencies, the caretaker chief minister would inform the provincial governor about the law and order situation.

On Monday, a Peshawar High Court bench comprising Justice Ishtiaq Ibrahim and Syed Arshad Ali took up a Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf petition seeking a schedule for the provincial assembly elections.

However, provincial advocate general Amir Javed presented a notification before the bench declaring that a meeting would be chaired by Chief Minister Mohammad Azam Khan on Tuesday to discuss the security situation in the province.

He prayed the court to postpone the hearing until the outcome of that meeting emerged. The bench will resume the hearing into the petition in light of that meeting’s decisions.

Justice Ishtiaq Ibrahim observed during the hearing that the security agencies and other relevant departments were bound to cooperate with the Election Commission of Pakistan to hold free and fair elections to the provincial assembly.

On Jan 25, the Election Commission of Pakistan had proposed to KP Governor Haji Ghulam Ali to hold the provincial assembly polls between April 9 and 17.

In light of the ECP’s communication, the governor wrote to the caretaker chief minister on Feb 5 seeking his assessment of the security situation regarding the holding of the provincial assembly elections.

“You [chief minister] are requested to assess the security situation in the province of KP and appraise as to whether the provincial government, in view of the current situation, is in a position to provide requite security for the peaceful conduct of the general elections to the provincial assembly,” read the governor’s letter.

The governor issued a reminder to the chief minister on Feb 10 seeking his early assessment of the security situation in the province. However, both letters have yet to be responded to.

Published in Dawn, February 22th, 2023

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