Ensure peace on polling day

AS the election campaign for July 25 election concluded at midnight, it is unfortunate that the pre-polling process was blemished by violence and terrorist attacks. In the latest act of violence, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) candidate for Provincial Assembly constituency PK-99 Sardar Ikramullah Khan Gandapur was martyred and five others were injured in a suicide bombing in Dera Ismail Khan on Sunday and the same day, senior JUI leader Akram Khan Durrani survived another bid on life.
Prior to these incidents, one also saw the killing of two contesting candidates Haroon Bilour and Siraj Raisani in separate terrorist attacks in Peshawar and Mastoong. On more than one occasion, the NACTA officials had in unambiguous terms warned that political leaders and contesting candidates face serious threats but it is regrettable that provincial governments failed to fulfil their responsibility vis-à-vis ensuring security of the candidates. As a result of these incidents, the electioneering this time around was not that much intense as is associated with the election. Due to element of fear, the public turnout at some recent public gatherings organised by different parties also remained very low. Though people especially the young generation looked charged to cast their vote, yet at the same time responsibility rests with the provincial governments to take stringent security measures for the polling day so that people could freely cast their vote in an environment free of fear.
The deployment of armed forces personnel both inside and outside the polling stations indeed will give a sense of security to the public but security institutions should stay alert not only at important places but in the surrounding areas of polling stations to avoid any untoward and violent incident on the polling day. The enemy, which has tried to sabotage the election to trigger anarchy and chaos in the country, can make the last desperate effort to disrupt the polling process. Now it is the test of capability of our security institutions and intelligence agencies as to how they foil nefarious designs of the enemy. It is also for the people to come out on the voting day in big numbers to give a loud and lucid message to inimical forces that nothing could deter them from exercising their right and that future of the country surely lies in credible and working democracy.

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