Government cautions politicians about security -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Government cautions politicians about security

ISLAMABAD: The government on Tuesday urged political leaders not to lower their guard and remain careful because chances of terror strike against them have not diminished altogether.

“We should not lower our guard and guidelines that have been issued to political parties and the political leaders should continue to be followed. We should not get complacent and the security that we have provided to them should continue to be in place,” the Interior Ministry spokesman Brig (retd) Javed Iqbal Cheema said in the weekly briefing.

He said the security was provided to political leaders in the wake of threats to them to which the interior ministry was aware of. “All those people who are still under some sort of threat should continue to have that security,” he said.

When asked if there was any latest information regarding threats to the political leadership of the country, he said the possibility of a terror strike couldn’t be ruled out. “There is a possibility that the militants are also watching the situation. They also may be observing as to how the new government is being formed, what aspects will come forth and how all this will happen. That is why we have to remain alert and we should not lower our guard. Our job is to be more vigilant, remain on high alert and not give any opportunity to terrorists. The government will try to do its most,” he said.

He rejected as if there was any sort of agreement or understanding between the government and the militants for elections. “No such agreement or anything,” he snapped. Answering a question he said the judges ‘living in the Judges Colony’ in ‘Ministers’ Enclave’ were not denied the opportunity to cast their votes. “We had already given instructions and offered them that whosoever wants to cast his vote, the government would facilitate him. The judges have not participated in the polls. They must have decided not to exercise their vote. Otherwise, the government had offered everybody that whosoever wanted to go and cast his vote the government will facilitate,” he said.

When asked will the interior ministry recommend the new government to release the deposed judges, he said it was a provincial subject and the interior ministry deals only with the law and order situation.

Earlier in his opening statement he expressed satisfaction over the law and order situation during the election. “There was no terrorist activity or major disruption of the electoral process. However sporadic incidents of violence from different parts of the country were reported. Scope of violence remained confined to inter-party scuffles and few firing incidents,” he said.

Denying any increase in the number of ‘election-related casualties’ he said 18 people died and about 150 received injuries during the electoral process. In Punjab, he said, 12 people died and 60 were injured due to inter-party violence. In Sindh 4 people died and 84 got injured. In NWFP 2 persons died and 4 got injured and in Balochistan only 2 people got injured.

He said the international observers and world media also termed the polling activity free, fair, transparent and peaceful. US Senator John Kerry, EU Observer Wolfgang and spokesman of Center for Media and Democracy (CMD), USA expressed their satisfaction as regards the security and peaceful conduct of elections.

He said the nation has exercised its right to choose its representatives in a free, fair, transparent and peaceful poll yesterday. The government had made elaborate security arrangements for peaceful conduct of polls. Foolproof security arrangements made by the government and heavy deployment of law enforcement agencies and security forces paid dividends and prevented any major disruption of the election process.

“The government had put in place three tiered elaborate security arrangements. Police, Rangers, Frontier Corps and Frontier Constabulary were deployed at polling stations and on inner and outer cordons. Army though was kept in reserve but its dispersed deployment was so planned to ensure quick reaction with minimum loss of time. The ‘reaction capability’ of army and the civil armed forces was enhanced with aerial mobility,” he said.

Quoting an incident of ‘quick response’ he said the security forces were immediately moved on a tip off about the presence of terrorists in district Bannu who were out to carry out an act of terrorism in order to disrupt the polling process. “The terrorists fired at the security forces. During exchange of fire three terrorists got killed and three were apprehended. In the process one security personnel also embraced ‘shahadat’ and two got injured,” he said.

Source: The News
Date:2/20/2008