Islamabad - The Election Commission of Pakistan has decided to deploy army personnel at polling stations on the polling day scheduled for July 25.

The decision was taken at a meeting chaired by Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Justice (r) Sardar Muhammad Raza Khan on Thursday.

The meeting was attended, among others, by provincial election commissioners, chief secretaries, secretary defence, director general military operations (DGMO) and inspectors general of police (IGs) that reviewed security arrangements for the general election. The meeting also decided that a foolproof security would be provided during printing of the ballot papers. For this purpose, the army would be deployed at security printing press from June 20 to June 27.

Later, briefing newsmen, the ECP’s additional director-general media said that CCTV cameras would be installed at 20,000 sensitive polling stations across the country.

He said that close coordination would also be maintained with the National Counter-Terrorism Authority for security issues.

He said the meeting decided that a foolproof security would also be provided to political leaders. He said it would be the responsibility of the provinces to make necessary arrangements in this regard.

Similarly, provincial governments would also provide security to district returning officers, returning officers and presiding officers.

He said the commission expressed satisfaction over security arrangements so far devised for the general elections. Meanwhile, the ECP has expressed displeasure over requests for exemptions from election duty by various departments and individuals. In a statement, the ECP said, “Holding free, fair and transparent elections is a national duty which has to be fulfilled by every one of us. Therefore, no applications for exemptions should be sent to the ECP.”

In another development, the ECP identified 383 election candidates as bank defaulters during the scrutiny of their nomination papers.

Among the candidates who owe money to banks or have secured loan waivers was Iftikhar Ahmed Khan, who owes a staggering Rs642 million.

Of the other hopefuls, Naveed Mukhtar owes Rs570 million, of which over Rs13 million had been waived; Muhammad Yaqoob Sheikh owes Rs560 million of which over Rs14 million had been waived; Rashid Yaqoob, who owes Rs528 million, of which Rs13 million had been waived; Muhammad Khan is a defaulter of Rs23 million and Malik Waheed Khan, a defaulter of Rs5 million with Rs38 million waived.

Earlier this week, the State Bank of Pakistan had informed the ECP that more than 100 candidates were found to be bank defaulters in its scrutiny process. PPP’s Hina Rabbani Khar and Mian Manzoor Ahmed Wattoo were among the prominent names who the central bank had red-flagged.

The scrutiny process was to be carried out by four federal bodies: the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), the National Accountability Bureau, the State Bank of Pakistan and the Federal Board of Revenue.

The ECP said that three of the four agencies have wrapped up their part of the process, with the FIA, which is responsible for checking the dual nationality status and Iqama papers of the candidates yet to submit its report to the ECP.