Afghan border to be closed on poll day
RAWALPINDI: The Afghan border will be closed on the day of polling and refugees restricted to their camps for three days as a security measure during the coming general election.
The decisions were taken at a meeting presided over by Chief Election Commissioner Justice (retd) Fakhruddin G. Ebrahim where safety and administrative arrangements for the election were discussed.
According to sources, the government will be asked to keep the Afghan refugees confined to their camps on the day of polling and the days before and after it.
A spokesman for the Election Commission said the decision had been taken to ensure peaceful election and the standard operating procedures would be followed in this regard.
The meeting was attended by the federal secretaries for defence, interior, establishment, foreign affairs and information; the provincial chief secretaries, home secretaries and police chiefs, heads of the Rangers and Frontier Corps and the director general of the National Database and Registration Authority.The meeting decided that international observers would be asked to exercise caution during visits to the Federally Administered Tribal Areas.
The foreign affairs secretary said the international community had expressed keen interest in sending observers.
The ministry has received requests from the European Union, United States, members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the Commonwealth secretariat.
Sources said that the foreign affairs ministry, in collaboration with the interior ministry, would issue permits to a limited number of foreign observers for seven days because of security concerns.
They will not be allowed to visit areas where security situation is not satisfactory and they will be restricted to polling stations.
“The interior ministry will be responsible for the security of international observers and for facilitating them in their visits to various parts of the country during the election process,” it was decided.
The district police officers and political agents will prepare contingency plans for their districts and tribal agencies.
Each candidate will be allowed to keep five security guards whose previous records will be submitted to the DPOs and political agents.
The provincial governments will provide video cameras, transport and security to monitoring teams.
Closed-circuit cameras will be installed inside extremely sensitive polling stations.
The cabinet division and provincial governments will also provide necessary support to the Election Commission, when needed.
The cabinet division will receive requests from the ECP for helicopters, aircraft and other means of transport from its own resources as well as from other government agencies.