After the opposition parties raised hue and cry over what they called was a botched verification of electoral rolls, the army was seen on Tuesday standing guard in some neighbourhoods. The election commission workers are completing the second phase of the voter verification process that began on January 10. Several political parties expressed, however, their reservations that the process was being carried out without the help of the army and Frontier Constabulary, which was against the Supreme Court orders. On Monday, the chief election commissioner, Fakhruddin G Ebrahim had assured the protesting parties that the army would be called in, but the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) – the media wing of the army – gave no confirmation.
On Tuesday, the ISPR spokesperson insisted that the army was not called in for door-to-door verification, but it did provide security in some areas. “Our troops are in contact with the election commission staff, including assistant registration officers, in every area and they visit on their request,” he said.
Nevertheless, the provincial election commissioner, Mehboob Anwar, told The Express Tribune that the armed forces not only started patrolling in different areas, but accompanied the enumerators to the doors in five districts of Karachi. “The personnel have visited around 30 electoral areas along with our enumerators,” he said. These areas included Gulshan-e-Iqbal, Hijrat Colony, Nazimababad, Malir SITE, North Karachi, Saddar and Clifton.