LAHORE (Web Desk) – Police are taking unprecedented security measures to control violence during the Local Bodies elections taking place in 12 districts of Punjab today.
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Apart from massive deployment, the police have launched “special operations” in the big cities to tighten its screws on vandals and troublemakers, The Nation reported.
By Friday night, at least 800 vandals were put under house-arrest in Lahore where police launched a full-scale operation to detain another 1500 troublemakers, a spokesperson for the Lahore Police (Operations) said.
“The police department has prepared a list of some 1500 troublemakers. Cops are ordered to begin raids after midnight to arrest the (1500) elements who could be a security risk for voters on the day of polling,” Hammad Raza said.
Official sources revealed that earlier the Lahore police had secured orders from the local courts to put under house-arrest at least 800 miscreants.
According to Raza, Lahore police prepared the list in light of the information collected from different sources including intelligence operatives and law enforcement agencies.
The police also reviewed background of the miscreants and their involvement in criminal cases and political violence in the past before including their names in the list.
“Those included in the list belongs to political parties,” the spokesperson said.
“Many of them were booked in cases related to political violence in the past,” he added.
In Lahore, at least 160 special squads of Elite Police and Quick Response Force are deployed on the important roads of the metropolis to maintain law and order.
Already, a major crackdown against display of weapons is underway across the province.
The spokeswoman also confirmed that the police registered 274 cases against the violators of ban on hoarding and display of weapons during this campaign.
“Cops also seized 16 Kalashnikovs, 46 assault rifles, 35 guns, 147 pistols and 212 bullets,” she said.
Massive police deployment and increased patrolling are described as the key component of the security strategy prepared for LB elections.
According to a senior officer, the police “will remain neutral and impartial” during the elections.
“The code of conduct devised by the Election Commission of Pakistan will be implemented in true letter and spirit,” said the officer.
No candidate will be allowed to move with private guards during the elections.
The field officers are directed to observe zero tolerance policy against display of weapons, private bodyguards, and aerial firing.
At least 50 companies of Pakistan Army and Punjab Rangers will help civil administration maintain law and order during polling since the government has sent a formal request to the authorities concerned in this regard.
Earlier on Friday, the provincial police chief, IGP Mushtaq Sukhera, had directed the field officers to arrange the boarding and lodging of the police personnel who will be deployed on security duties in their respective districts.