rawalpindi - As many as 71,50,800 registered voters of Rawalpindi Division will elect 12 National Assembly (NA) and 27 Provincial Assembly (PA) members today  under tight security arrangements to ensure peaceful polling process in free, fair and transparent manner.

The details in this behalf revealed that a sizable number of contingents of Law Enforcement Agencies inclusive of Army besides police and Reserve police have been deployed in and around 5,328 polling stations in the four districts of Rawalpindi division including Rawalpindi, Attock, Jhelum and Chakwal.

The civil administration on the directive of caretaker Chief Minister Punjab Dr Hasan Askari has clamped tight security arrangements for A, B and C categories polling stations (PSs) in Rawalpindi Division where 606 Polling Stations set up for election have been declared highly sensitive (A) and 1036 sensitive (B) in the Division including Attock, Rawalpindi, Chakwal, Jhelum and Islamabad. The category “C” is for such polling stations which can be termed as “Normal”.

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had postponed the election in NA-60 due to conviction/disqualification of a candidate, Hanif Abbasi. Election Commission of Pakistan had appointed 12 Returning Officers (ROs) and 24 Assistant Returning Officers (AROs) for 12 constituencies of NA and 27 constituencies of PA of the Punjab in the Division. According to Commissioner Office Rawalpindi, total 14,841 police personnel have been deployed on duty all across the Division of which 8,388 cops will perform security duty in Rawalpindi district while 2,754 in Attock district.

Similarly, 1,841 police officials will be on security duty in Jhelum and nearly 2,141 in Chakwal district. Strict monitoring of the polling stations especially inclusive of those falling in catagories “A” and “B” will be carried out through Close Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras. Meanwhile, district monitoring officers have been monitoring the steps taken for strict compliance of the code of conduct issued by ECP. The ROs and AROs have been appointed for NA-55 to NA-67 including two constituencies of Attock, six of Rawalpindi, two of Chakwal and two constituencies of Jhelum.  Similarly, five provincial assembly constituencies from PP-1 to PP-5 in Attock district, 15 constituencies of PP-6 to PP-20 in Rawalpindi district, four constituencies PP-21 to PP-24 in Chakwal district and three Jhelum constituencies from PP-25 to PP-27 are included. Talking to APP, District Election Commissioner Rawalpindi-I, Malik Saleem Akhtar said, District Election Commission has finalized all the arrangements for the general elections 2018.

According to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) sources, the basic facilities including electricity, drinking water, toilets for the polling staff and voters at all polling stations have been ensured in Rawalpindi division. The Commission had finalized Polling Schemes for six NA and 15 PA constituencies of Rawalpindi district while 6200 polling booths including 3,200 for male and 3,000 for female voters are being set up for polling.  Total 2,576 Polling Stations have been set up in the district to facilitate the voters who will cast their ballot to elect representation of their choice. The National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) have activated the Result Transmission Service (RTS) to enable Returning Officers to send results to the ECP through the service. NADRA teams visited the offices of Returning Officers to activate RTS and according to the ECP, the presiding and assistant presiding officers have been given the software to use through smart phones. The presiding officers who did not have smart phones, the software linked to the smart phones of their respective subordinate staff which will be used to pass on the results of respective constituency after compilation. The District Returning Officer (DRO) Rawalpindi Muhammad Khalid Nawaz received election material including ballot boxes, seals, polling booths, ink, ballot papers and other necessary items which have been kept in double lock up under a tight security arrangement.  The Commission has directly given election material to the concerned Returning Officers (ROs) in this regard. The election commission has constituted a control room in every constituency of the district where one returning officer (RO) would remain present all the time to monitor the elections and polling activities through cameras installed in the polling stations.

Meanwhile, the District Regional Transport Authority (DRTA) on the directive of DRO arranged buses and wagons to dispatch the election material and election staff to their relative polling stations on the polling Day. In the Rawalpindi District, 104 polling stations have been declared as highly sensitive while 91 others have been termed as sensitive. As many as 67 candidates are competing for six NA seats while 166 candidates are vying for the PA seats.  There are six heavyweight candidates in the running including former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, former premier Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, former interior minister Chaudhary Nisar Ali Khan, former federal minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan, Awami Muslim League (AML) Chairman Sheikh Rashid Ahmed and Raja Qamar ul Islam.

According to City Police Officer (CPO) Abbas Ahsan, the police are taking all possible measures to maintain law and order on the polling day. The CPO informed that the ban on display of weapons will be implemented in letter and spirit and no one would be allowed to violate the ban. He said that the polling stations in Rawalpindi were categorised as A, B and C for security purposes. As part of security arrangements, the CPO said that the district had been divided into sectors and sub-sectors. Meanwhile, polling stations have been divided into sub-sectors of 20 police stations, with each sub-sector assigned two police personnel on a motorbike and a patrol van with six police personnel.

According to ECP sources, NA-59, Rawalpindi-III, is most sensitive constituency in Rawalpindi district having 31 highly sensitive and seven sensitive Polling Stations (PSs). Meanwhile, the security plan for the polling stations falling under the administrative control of Islamabad capital territory has been finalized by the Islamabad administration separately. According to the administrative division by the Election Commission of Pakistan, Islamabad is part of the Rawalpindi region.

Out of 786 polling stations of the federal capital, 26 have been declared highly sensitive, 87 sensitive and 673 normal in the federal capital. 1,069 polling stations of Attock district include 301 highly sensitive, 532 sensitive while 236 are normal.

Rawalpindi district would have 2,576 total polling stations including 145 highly sensitive, 99 sensitive and 2332 normal while Chakwal district has a total of 925 polling stations with 74 highly sensitive, 217 sensitive and 634 normal.

Similarly, Jhelum would have 60 highly sensitive, 101 sensitive and 597 normal in total 758 polling stations of the district. City Traffic Police (CTP) has also finalized a comprehensive traffic plan to regulate traffic on important roads of the city on the Election Day.

In order to make the security foolproof for the Election Day, City Traffic Police (CTP) has finalized all the arrangements under a comprehensive traffic plan made for free movement of traffic in the city on Wednesday. According to Chief Traffic Officer (CTO) Rawalpindi, SSP, Muhammad Bin Ashraf no one would be allowed to park vehicles or motorcycles within 200 meters radius of the Polling Stations. Enhanced number of traffic wardens will be deployed in the city particularly congested areas of the town while traffic diversions will be available at several points to facilitate the road users. DSPs and Sector In charges will supervise the traffic arrangements near polling stations while overall supervision will be conducted by the CTO. The CTO said, no one would be allowed to block any road after the announcement of the polling results. Punjab Emergency Service, Rescue-1122 Rawalpindi has also finalized emergency arrangements for Election Day while over 500 rescuers will remain on high alert. The staff will remain on special duties in district control room and emergency rescue stations with 46 fully equipped emergency ambulances, 45 motorbike ambulances, 17 fire vehicles, eight rescue and recovery vehicles, two specialized vehicles and three water bowzers. Ambulances will be available at important points while the contingents of paramedical staff would perform duty near highly sensitive and sensitive points. A comprehensive plan has been formulated to give quick response in case of any emergency. The control room established at Rescue-1122 district headquarters will remain operational round-the-clock to ensure effective implementation of District Emergency Plan and provision of effective emergency services to the public.