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Army to be deployed in 16 Pak cities

world Updated: Dec 21, 2007 12:25 IST

PTI
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The army will be deployed in 16 "sensitive" cities of Pakistan, including the four provincial capitals of Lahore, Quetta, Karachi and Peshawar, during the upcoming parliamentary polls, caretaker Interior Minister Hamid Nawaz Khan said on Thursday.

The decision to deploy the army was taken after the government received reports from law enforcement agencies on their assessment of the situation ahead of the January 8 general election, especially cities where the law and order situation is sensitive, he said.

The troops will be deployed in 16 "sensitive" cities, including the four provincial capitals -- Lahore, Karachi, Quetta and Peshawar -- and Multan, Dera Ismail Khan, Faisalabad and Manshera, Khan told Dawn News channel.

A comprehensive security plan for the polls has also been prepared, he said.

Pakistan's Election Commission today said over 81 million people would be eligible to vote in the polls to the national and four provincial assemblies. It said 3.7 "duplicate" entries had been removed during the recent revision of the list of voters.

Election Commission Secretary Kanwar Dilshad said extra security personnel will be deployed at 1,160 polling stations in Balochistan that have been declared "most sensitive".

Dilshad, who visited Balochistan this week, said the three other provinces would submit their reports on the law and order situation by December 24-25.

A foolproof mechanism has been devised for the printing of ballot papers, including the use of special paper and security features. About 2,000 foreign observers would reach Pakistan soon to monitor the polls, Dilshad said.