In a joint meeting held at the Election Commission of Pakistan headquarters, it was proposed that special security arrangements be made for the protection of VIPs in the upcoming elections.
The meeting also discussed sensitive polling stations, particularly in Islamabad.
“The ECP will take a final decision regarding the deployment of the Pakistan Army on sensitive polling stations,” said Interior Minister Malik Habib Khan, adding that the maintenance of law and order to ensure free and peaceful elections was his prime responsibility, which would be fulfilled at any cost.
While talking to reporters outside the ECP headquarters, the interior minister said the election commission was supervising security arrangements for transparent elections. “Our prime responsibility is to provide stringent security to political leaders on merit,” he said.
He added that Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz chief Nawaz Sharif and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chairman Imran Khan would also be provided security to avoid any unpleasant incident. To a question, he said that Tuesday’s meeting focused on examining security arrangements in the federal capital and also identified around 49 sensitive polling stations.
ECP Additional Secretary Muhammad Afzal Khan said that electronic and print media organisations should deploy a maximum number of cameras during elections to point out shortcomings, if any. However, he added, the media should not compromise on national interest intentionally or unintentionally just to take a lead in breaking the news. He said it was almost impossible to cast a bogus vote in the elections.
Meanwhile, the caretaker interior minister shuffled on Tuesday Islamabad police’s top bureaucracy but stopped short of changing the chief.
On his orders, DIG (Headquarters) Sultan Azam Temuri was made DIG (Establishment), while DIG Khalid Khattak was transferred to the Police Headquarters. Additional Inspector General (AIG) Tahir Alam was made DIG security in place of Khattak.
However, Inspector General of Police (IGP) Islamabad Bani Amin remained in his post despite initial orders by the interior ministry for Amin to relinquish his post paving way for Capt (retd) Zafar Iqbal. Iqbal is currently posted in the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) as Director.
Sources in the police said Amin pulled the right strings at the right time to avert his transfers. While all other top officers were changed on the orders of the ECP, one of the longest serving IGPs in Islamabad was left ‘untouched’. Amin is also known to have links with influential personalities including a real estate tycoon known to have political affiliations in Islamabad.
Besides changing the bureaucracy, the interior minister asked the capital police to recruit 2,700 more personnel to overcome the deficiency of numbers.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 10th, 2013.
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