ISLAMABAD: Caretaker Prime Minister Nasirul Mulk on Wednesday instructed provincial governments to beef up security measures across the country and contact political leaderships to ensure their foolproof security ahead of the general polls.
The PM would soon visit all the four provinces to review security arrangements. Fresh instructions on security were issued amidst reports that terrorist organisations were planning to target top politicians during their campaigns for July 25 elections in a bid to sabotage the electoral process.
Chairing a top-level security huddle, Mulk was briefed by newly appointed Director General Intelligence Bureau Ihsan Ghani about the existing security situation and the threats posed by the non-state actors.
According to official sources, the briefing suggested a possible nexus between the ‘hostile’ intelligence agencies of the neighbouring countries including India’s Research and Analysis Wing and Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security with the relics of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, Lashkar-e-Islam and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.
Ghani, who was the National Coordinator National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA), before taking up the present assignment, is said to have shared during the briefing that leaderships of all mainstream political parties and some individuals in smaller political groups who are canvassing for votes in general elections are under grave security threat.
National Coordinator NACTA Dr Suleman Khan, Interior Minister Azam Khan, Information Minister Ali Zafar and other officials were present in the meeting.
PM expresses satisfaction over security arrangements for polls
It merits a mention here that Suleman Khan was previously serving as DG IB and Ghani as National Coordinator NACTA when the federal government swapped their portfolios as part of reshuffle in the ranks of top government officers ahead of general elections.
A well-placed source at a security agency said the PM would soon chair a meeting of the military spymasters and related organisations to map out security plan envisioning mutual coordination between the military, civil armed forces and security agencies to respond to the newly surfaced security threats in the aftermath of Peshawar carnage.
“Terrorism was literally wiped out from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Federally Administered Tribal Areas as well as rest of the country due to successful military operations. However, there are some remnants of terrorist outfits like TTP, LI and LeJ that are out to function as proxies of hostile intelligence agencies for their survival. They would neutralised soon,” the official said.
Even though the TTP has claimed responsibility for Peshawar attack, the official said the TTP alone is no more in position to carry out deadly attacks since its command and control centre has been destroyed in KP which has brought drastic reduction in militant violence with terrorist incidents almost reduced to nil before the fresh episode of violence.
Some reports suggested the involvement of IS in Peshawar attack but the official denied this possibility saying IS doesn’t have consolidated presence in Pakistan to carry out such attacks.
The official further added security agencies have intensified Intelligence Based Operations (IBOs) in volatile areas of K-P, FATA, South Punjab and Balochistan to neutralise the non-state actors ahead of the general elections.
CJP directs IGPs to withdraw security for influential men
A press release from Prime Minister’s Office said overall law and order situation in the country in the wake of upcoming general elections 2018 was reviewed during the meeting.
The PM directed the Ministry of Interior to issue instructions to the provincial governments for beefing up security arrangements across the country, it said. He further directed that local administration/law enforcement agencies should contact political leadership so as to apprise them regarding security arrangements being made by the government and seek their cooperation to avoid happening of untoward incidents, the statement added.
The PM also decided to visit all the provinces to review security arrangements in place for peaceful and smooth conduct of the upcoming general elections 2018, according to the press release.
Meanwhile, a separate meeting was also held at the Interior Ministry under the chair of Interior Minister Azam Khan to review security procedures after the Peshawar terrorist incident.
Earlier on late Tuesday night, a deadly suicide attack fatally targeted Awami National Party’s candidate Haroon Bilour in Peshawar, who was a candidate for KP Assembly’s seat PK-78 Peshawar. More than 20 people lost their lives in the attack.