The Election Commission (EC) is to deploy armed forces across the country ahead of the upcoming 12th Jatiya Sangsad (JS) polls, officials said here on Monday.
“The election commission (EC) wants us (armed forces) to be deployed to stage a free and fair election in a healthy atmosphere. We ensured them of all out support,” armed forces division’s principal staff officer Lieutenant General Wakar-uz-Zaman told a media briefing, reports BSS.
The announcement came after Chief Election Commissioner Kazi Habibul Awal and other commissioners held a meeting with concerned civil and military officials at the commission office.
Zaman said the army would be deployed across the country “in aid of civil power” for 13 days from December 29 and “we will extend our support to the commission the way it wants”.
He said the armed forces deployment was “not a new phenomenon” as they were called out during past general elections as well, but termed the “today’s discussion” an initial meeting with the commission.
Election commission secretary Jahangir Alam told the briefing that the EC sought the armed forces assistance in line with home ministry’s suggestions, but no detailed work plan was chalked up on the military engagement yet.
He said the EC would now seek President Mohammad Shahabuddin’s approval for armed forces deployment since he is the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces.
Asked about the number of armed forces personnel to be deployed on poll duty, Zaman said more than 35,000 army personnel were deployed during 11th JS elections and if more is needed the number of troops would be deployed accordingly.
The EC announced the polls schedule on November 15.