=> ISLAMABAD, Jan 29: The government on Tuesday decid -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

=> ISLAMABAD, Jan 29: The government on Tuesday decid

ISLAMABAD, Jan 29: The government on Tuesday decided to provide advanced equipment to security forces to help them foil possible suicide attacks on politicians during the campaign for coming elections, according to Interior Ministry spokesman Brig (retd) Javed Iqbal Cheema.

He said at his weekly press briefing that the decision had been taken in a high-level security meeting presided over by caretaker Interior Minister Lt-Gen (retd) Hamid Nawaz and attended by home secretaries and inspectors general of police of the four provinces and heads of other security forces.

“The meeting gave a go-ahead to acquire latest equipment for prompt detection of any suspect carrying explosives and approaching security checkposts, barricades or any sensitive place,” the spokesman said.

He said scanners were also being purchased to be installed at provincial entry points on the main roads as well as entry and exit points of the main cities. “This will greatly enhance the capacity of the security apparatus to preempt suicide bombing”, he added.

The spokesman did not elaborate how the security forces would be able to foil suicide bombing with the equipment, when countries like Israel and Sri Lanka with better resources had failed to stop suicide attacks.

The Interior Ministry had already informed media that following the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto on Dec 27 in Rawalpindi, prominent leaders of different political parties contesting elections-2008 were also on the hit list of terrorists.

Analysts said now the government appeared to believe that with the purchase of new equipment the security forces would be able to foil suicide bombings although in the past it had been saying that suicide attacks could not be stopped by any means. Then there is the question why such equipment had not been purchased in the past to avert the suicide attacks that have taken place in the country.

The spokesman said the federal and provincial governments were determined to ensure peaceful completion of democratic transition through fair, free and transparent elections. “All security arrangements have been put in place and final touches would be given to security plans ahead of the polling day,” he said.

Brig Cheema said the army would also perform its duty in different parts of the country to assist police and paramilitary forces in maintaining peace during polls.

On the basis of intelligence reports, he said some, 40 constituencies in the country had been declared sensitive.

He said: “The security forces have cleared the Swat region of militants and established the writ of the government in the area”.

The Kohat Tunnel was now under control and security forces were conducting a technical sweep before opening it to traffic.

The Indus Highway, he said, would be opened to traffic soon.

He said that 50 insurgents had been killed in the Darra Adamkhel operation.

Answering to a question about the investigation into Pakistan People’s Party chairperson Benazir Bhutto’s assassination and the return of the Scotland Yard Team, he said the team was expected to return next week.
Source: Dawn
Date:1/30/2008