RAWALPINDI: All is set to hold the general elections on July 25, Wednesday as all the arrangements including security steps have been finalized for conducting polls in free, fair and transparent manner in Rawalpindi division.
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 election campaign would terminate on the midnight falling between Monday and Tuesday.
The Commission had finalized Polling Schemes for seven National Assembly and 15 Provincial Assembly of the Punjab 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 where 3,125,669 voters including 1,647,507 male and 1,478,162 female voters will cast their ballot to elect representation of their choice.
The National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) has 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 onward pass on the results of respective constituency after compilation.
Printing of ballot papers have also been completed while polling equipment already distributed among the ROs. ECP has also reviewed the preparations for the general elections and directed the provincial chief secretaries to ensure the security of Returning Officers and Polling staff in their respective provinces.
The District Returning Officers and Returning Officers were appointed mostly from the lower judiciary, while the assistant returning officers were selected from the civil bureaucracy – mainly district administration group.
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.
Training of polling staff, screens for compartment and seating arrangements for presiding officers in the constituencies has also been completed.
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 DRO had directed the District Regional Transport Authority (DRTA) Secretary Khalid Yameen Satti to immediately arrange over 1,000 buses and wagons to dispatch the election material and election staff to their relative polling stations on the polling Day.
Talking to APP, the Secretary RTA informed that the arrangement of buses and wagons would be finalized here till Monday.
In the Rawalpindi District 104 polling stations have been declared as highly sensitive while 91 others have been termed as sensitive.
According to officials of the ECP, polling schemes for the seven National Assembly (NA) and 15 Provincial Assembly constituencies of Rawalpindi district had been finalized.
As many as 75 candidates are competing for the 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.
Dr. Hasan Askari in a recently held high-level meeting here at Commissioner Office reviewed election arrangements. He also took important decisions for holding free, fair, transparent and peaceful general election.
He directed the authorities to ensure best possible security arrangements for the polling day.
According to Commissioner Office Rawalpindi, as many as 6,132 cops will perform security duty in Rawalpindi district while 2,754 will be deployed 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 polling stations will be carried out through CCTV cameras and district monitoring officers are monitoring the steps taken for implementation of code of conduct issued by Election Commission of Pakistan.
Meanwhile, Rawalpindi police have also finalized election security plan.
According to City Police Officer (CPO) Abbas Ahsan, the police are taking all possible measures to maintain law and order during the election campaign and for 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.
Each police station in the district constitutes one sector while a contingent of reserve police personnel will be at the disposal of the police station and will act accordingly as and when required bases by the relevant police station.
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.
He said the authorities concerned have been requested for deployment of 1200 extra police personnel to assist the local police.
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).
The administration on the directive of caretaker Chief Minister Punjab Dr. Hasan Askari has finalized tight security arrangements for A, B & C category polling stations (PSs) in Rawalpindi Division as 606 Polling Stations (PSs) set up for election have been declared highly sensitive and 1036 sensitive in Rawalpindi Division including Attock, Rawalpindi, Chakwal, Jhelum and Islamabad.
Over 12,841 police personnel will be deployed at 5,328 polling stations in four districts of Rawalpindi division including Rawalpindi, Attock, Jhelum and Chakwal.
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 which would have 2,576 total polling stations including 145 highly sensitive, 99 sensitive and 2332 normal while Chakwal district has total 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.