Kayani chairs army meeting over security during polls
Islamabad: With just a month to go for the landmark general election that will mark the first democratic transition in the country`s history, Pakistan Army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani today chaired a meeting of top commanders to discuss plans to provide security to the polls.
Kayani chaired a meeting of formation commanders at the army`s General Headquarters in the garrison city of Rawalpindi.
"Plans to provide security during the May elections as asked by the Election Commission of Pakistan were...Discussed and deliberated," said a brief statement from the military without giving details.
The half yearly conference was attended by Corps Commanders, Principal Staff Officers and all formation commanders.
The meeting was given "comprehensive briefings on the external and internal security environment and professional matters", the statement said.
On April 6, Kayani held a meeting with Chief Election Commissioner Fakhruddin G Ebrahim and discussed security arrangements for the May 11 general election.
During that meeting, Kayani had assured Ebrahim that the army fully supported efforts being made by the Election Commission to hold free, fair and credible elections.
The army chief had also said that his force would extend all possible assistance to create "an environment conducive to achieve this objective".
Ebrahim told the army chief that all state institutions were expected to play their respective roles for holding transparent and peaceful elections "as expected by the people".
Security for the polls has become a crucial issue because of threats by the banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan to attack the election rallies of the Pakistan People’s Party, Awami National Party and Muttahida Qaumi Movement.
The threats by the Taliban have especially hit the campaign of the ANP in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province and Karachi, the country`s biggest city.
Ahead of the polls, Kayani also visited the restive Balochistan province on April 3 and held meetings with Governor Zulfiqar Magsi and caretaker Chief Minister Ghous Baksh Barozai to discuss the security situation and smooth conduct of the polls.
Kayani assured the provincial leadership that the army will "wholeheartedly welcome an all inclusive election" in Balochistan.
He emphasized the "need for participation by all political parties" and said the army was prepared to extend all necessary support for this.
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