Pakistan will deploy 371,388 troops to polling stations across the country to ensure free and fair elections on July 25, the army said Tuesday.

There are fears militants might stage attacks at the 85,300 polling stations.

The number of troops is far higher than in the last general election in 2013, when 75,000 troops were deployed for security at 70,185 polling stations when the security situation was much worse.

Since then, the number of attacks by militants have decreased by around 50 per cent.

‘In 2013 the army was busy fighting the war against terrorism and we could not afford to deploy them at all polling stations,’ Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) spokesman Altaf Khan told dpa.

‘We want to provide conducive environment for elections and have asked the army for deployment at all polling stations,’ he added.

According to army spokesman Major General Asif Ghafoor, the troops will also provide security for the printing of ballot papers and for the transmission of polling results.

In 2013, when the last elections were held in Pakistan, attacks by the Taliban killed hundreds of activists from liberal political groups and forced some parties to halt their campaigns.

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