ISLAMABAD - More than 700,000 out of over 750,000 government employees trained by the UNDP would be joining election duties at the 69,876 polling stations across Pakistan on coming Friday while the remaining personnel have already joined their duties.

Following the ECP's announcement on appointing the electoral staff at the polling stations, over 7000,000 employees of the Federal and Provincial Governments comprising the ECP staff members and school teachers would be reporting to the returning officers (ROs) concerned Friday morning to make prior arrangements for the polling day, hours after the elections campaigns of the general polls contestants would come to an end Thursday midnight.

Earlier on Monday, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Country Director in Pakistan Marc-Andre Franche had told this correspondent that the UNDP had trained 33,000 police men from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab Police, over 450 ROs and more than 70,00,00 polling staff (reportedly 720,000), including the ECP officials and school teachers, for performing duties in the general elections.

According to the UN diplomat, the training was imparted under three training programmes. The ROs, he said, were trained for the elections' result management, the police men were trained under the basic electoral security programme while the polling staff was trained by the UNDP and IFES (International Foundation for Electoral Systems), he had informed.

The UN agency has trained 19,000 personnel deputed in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and FATA to respond to the security threats in wake of declining security situation there while 14,000 officials of the Punjab Police have also been trained.

Reportedly, these policemen have already been deployed at the constituencies concerned to perform the election duties.

They would be guarding the polling stations from Friday.

Moreover, the international electoral observers would be allowed to visit those polling stations they would be given security clearance for.

Talking to The Nation on Tuesday, Secretary Election Commission of Pakistan Ishtiak Ahmed Khan had said that foolproof security measures were being taken to ensure the safety of the foreign observers during their visits at the polling stations. He said that the Ministry of Interior was primarily dealing with the security issues pertaining to the international electoral experts arriving in Pakistan to monitor the upcoming general elections.

During Monday's conversation, Marc-Andre Franche had clarified that the UNDP did not have any role in facilitating the visits of foreign observers to Pakistan.

"We don't have this kind of mandate...on the facilitation of the electoral observers' visits. We do have a role pertaining to the electoral observation and conducting briefings accordingly, for the international community including the foreign observers but we're not arranging for their visits here," he had said.

According to a protocol official at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), the international polls observers have been arriving in Pakistan since last month and their number was expected to increase till May 11.

The MOFA, he said, was issuing non-objection certificates (NOCs) every day to the polls observer missions generally comprising of up to five electoral experts while the interior ministry was dealing with the security clearance of the foreigners arriving here.