ISLAMABAD - Army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani met Chief Election Commissioner Justice (r) Fakhruddin G Ebrahim on Friday apparently to discuss security arrangements ahead of the general elections.

The meeting was held somewhere outside the Election Commission of Pakistan, the sources said.

The sudden conduct of the meeting coincided with the ECP's reported decision taken on Friday to 'defer' its decision regarding inclusion of a column in the ballot paper to 'facilitate' those voters who were not to cast their vote in favour of any candidate in the general elections.

On Wednesday, the ECP had announced to include the said column titled 'None of the above' in the ballot papers but decided to defer this decision owing to controversies attached to it.

Reportedly, the ECP was to include the said column on the security establishment's demand, which did not go well with the media, civil society and politicians, following which the electoral body decided not to go ahead with it.

According to a senior army officer dealing with the media, the meeting was held at the Islamabad Club.

Fakhruddin, when approached, denied the meeting had any other agenda other than discussing security matters.

"It was held purely to discuss security," he said, adding the secretary ECP and other senior officials would visit the General Headquarters soon to finalise the security arrangements.

"General Kayani assured the CEC that army fully supports the efforts being made by the election commission to hold free, fair and credible elections in the country and that all possible assistance will be extended to create an environment conducive to achieve this laudable objective," an ECP press release said.

"The CEC thanked the COAS and said that at this critical juncture of our history all the state organisations are expected to play their respective role to serve the supreme national interest by holding transparent and peaceful elections as enshrined in the constitution and also up to the expectations of the people of Pakistan," it added.