ISLAMABAD: Showing serious concern over the security situation of the country in the run-up to the elections, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Sunday asked the provincial governments to ensure the security of all candidates and provide a safe atmosphere for the polls.
“The ECP has expressed serious concerns at the [attacks] targeting candidates, activists and election campaigns, and has once again directed all the provincial governments to ensure the security of all contesting candidates and political leaders,” read a handout issued by the poll body.
It stated that providing security for the elections was the prime responsibility of provincial governments and urges them to take “earnest measures to prevent such assaults, ensuring an amicable and guarded atmosphere for the elections where candidates and parties can continue their campaign without fear.”
The commission strongly condemned the recent killings and bomb blasts in Karachi, Balochistan, Peshawar and Kohat.
A senior officer, talking to The Express Tribune on condition of anonymity, said the ECP was much disappointed over security lapses in certain parts of the country in spite of reminders to provincial governments to take effective measures. The officer admitted that the threat would affect the transparent election process extensively due to the absence of a level playing field for all parties.
“It is unfortunate that some parties are being continuously targeted by militants whereas others are effectively pursuing their election campaigns.”
He added that polling staff in Balochistan has already warned of boycotting their election duties if they are not provided tight security. Holding elections has become a challenge as such, he maintained.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 29th, 2013.
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