Take security threats seriously

IN an unfortunate and dreadful incident on Tuesday, Awami National Party (ANP) candidate for PK-78 Peshawar Haroon Bilour and twelve other Party workers were killed while over fifty others wounded in a suicide attack on a corner meeting in Azeemabad area of Peshawar. The attack comes hours after NACTA said there were security threats ahead of the upcoming general election.
ANP in the past also lost many of its stalwarts to acts of terrorism and Bashir Bilour, the father of Haroon Bilour also became victim of terror act back in 2012. As a result of that incident the ANP also could not properly carry out its campaign in the last general elections and now once again the party is being threatened not to participate in the electioneering. The attack on a corner meeting in Peshawar is indeed a failure of relevant security agencies as warnings were already issued that certain elements are out to sabotage the election process by attacking political figures. If the security related institutions has no capacity to pre-empt and avert an attack on a corner meeting, then attacks on big public gatherings could not be ruled out. Briefing the Senate’s standing committee, the NACTA officials had clearly warned of threats faced by high profile political leaders and other contesting candidates. Occurrence of Peshawar incident reflects that regardless of these threats, sufficient steps were not put in place to protect the contesting candidates. In order to avoid any major incident, the federal and provincial governments should sit together and put in place a stringent plan for security of political leadership and contesting candidates. The very statement of Secretary, Election Commission is also on the record that some outside forces in connivance with their stooges might create law and order situation in the country to sabotage the elections. As almost two weeks are left in the elections, the intelligence agencies should also fulfil their responsibilities and enhance joint coordination to thwart designs of the enemy. The fact of matter is that the elections are a must for the future and continuity of democratic set-up in the country and all relevant institutions and federal and provincial governments should join hands to ensure that the mammoth exercise takes place in a peaceful environment with all the parties getting an equal opportunity to run their election campaign.

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