Islamabad, Feb 18 : Extensive security arrangements were in place today for general elections in Pakistan.
The polling is being held for 269 general seats of the National Assembly and 570 seats of the provincial assemblies.
Saturday's suicide bomb blast in Parachinar, in which the death toll rose to 47 overnight, underlined the widespread security apprehensions that have dominated these elections from before the start of the process, but particularly after the killing of PPP leader Benazir Bhutto on December 27.
Over 80,000 troops from the Pakistan Army and paramilitary force have been deployed across the country.
In Karachi, rangers and police have been deployed at all polling stations, and troops are on standby to prevent violence. Ninety-five battalions have been deployed in Punjab where 3,787 of the 37,636 polling stations have been marked as 'most sensitive'.
In Sindh, where 1,575 of the 13,405 polling stations have been declared 'most sensitive', 27 battalions have been deployed.
Fifteen battalions have been deployed for 1,350 of the 3,457 polling stations in Balochistan.
In the NWFP and FATA, where 1,094 of the 8,173 polling stations have been declared sensitive, 12 battalions have been deployed. In FATA, all the 1,122 polling stations have been declared most sensitive. The number of troops in a battalion varies between 500 and 600.
The law enforcing agencies have also been directed to tighten the security and ensure the safety of voters and candidates.
Security was also beefed up along the border with Afghanistan, with a large contingent of Khyber Rifles and Frontier Constabulary deployed in Khyber Agency.