ISLAMABAD: The printing of ballot papers for the July 25 general elections in Pakistan began today under the supervision of the Army, which has deployed hundreds of soldiers to provide security to the printing presses where ballot-papers are being prepared.
The ballot papers are being printed at three printing presses across the country — Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad.
“The printing of ballot papers began today,” Geo TV reported.
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had imported papers for the printing of ballot papers to ensure transparency.
Citing sources, the channel said that 210 million ballot papers will be printed with more than Rs 2 billion being spent on the exercise, making it the most expensive venture in the history of the country’s elections.
The cost of a single ballot paper comes to around Rs 10, sources said.
The ballot papers are said to carry a watermark, something which none of the previous papers had.
The papers will also be printed in “round figures”, meaning if a polling station has 1,201 voters, 1,300 papers will be printed, the sources
Pakistan will deploy hundreds of thousands of soldiers both inside and outside the polling stations to boost security during the elections on July 25.
In the past, the Army was usually only deployed outside the polling stations that were declared ‘most sensitive’.
There will be more than 85,000 polling stations situated in around 45,000 buildings across the country. More than 350,000 soldiers would be needed to secure those areas, the report said.
The number is nearly five times than that of the troops deployed in the 2013 elections, when attacks by the militant groups were more common.