LAHORE: The Lahore Police have devised a comprehensive plan for the security of 881 polling stations ahead of by-elections scheduled to be held on October 14 in Lahore.
Lahore Police Deputy Inspector General of Police Operations Shahzad Akbar Rana, while talking to The Express Tribune, said that the polling stations have been categorised according to their sensitivity. He added that 183 polling stations fall in category A.
Rana said that the plan for by-elections will be a replication of General Elections 2018 held on July 25. As part of the policy of the Election Commission of Pakistan, Station House Officers (SHOs) of 27 police stations, which fall in the constituencies where by-elections are going to be held, have been transferred. Also, SHOs from other districts have been appointed in the city.
He said that police officials and volunteers would be deployed for security on by-election day. At least four police officials and volunteers will be deployed for the security of polling stations falling into category A.
Police will also cordon off areas surrounding polling stations as per the code of conduct announced by the Election of Pakistan (ECP). The force will use barricades, barbed wires and tents for this purpose.
Law enforcement agencies will also make use of closed-circuit television cameras (CCTV) installed by the Punjab Safe City Authority (PSCA) in different parts of the provincial capital to maximise monitoring and surveillance.
Besides these arrangements, teams of the Police Response Unit (PRU) and Dolphin Squad will remain on patrol. A team of PRU and dolphin squad will be responsible for maintaining security at five polling stations.
Meanwhile, senior police officers will be constantly monitoring the security arrangements while either on patrol or through control rooms.
In addition to the police, the Pakistan Army and Rangers will also be deployed and take on the responsible of providing security inside the polling stations.
As far as providing security to corner meetings, rallies and gatherings was concerned, police asked candidates to inform law enforcement agencies about their activities two days in advance. The aim was to ensure that security would be available at all given times.
DIG Operations said that police were providing foolproof security to participants of meetings and rallies ahead of by-polls. He said that besides ensuring security arrangements and maintaining the law and order situation, they were also taking steps to implement the ECP code of conduct for by-elections.
He also vowed to take action against the political activists regardless of their political affiliation will be taken for violating code of conduct.
As far traffic management on the election day, extra-contingents of traffic wardens would be deployed to maintain the flow. The traffic police have devised a plan according to the activity and traffic congestion on the day.
According to the plan, there will be an additional force for areas with increased election activity. Similarly, they will also identify timeslots when congestion on the roads tends to multiply and around that time wardens will be asked to establish diversions to maintain flow of traffic. In addition, reserves of wardens will remain be on standby and reach the spot if need be. Traffic police would remain in contact with political parties and the Lahore police to maintain flow during election meetings and rallies. Even when there was no prior intimation, traffic police will respond and try to maintain flow of traffic.