KARACHI: Intelligence officials have received threats of suicide bombings and indiscriminate firing on polling stations in PS-94 to sabotage the election process as a result of which the Sindh police and rangers will be extra vigilant on Sunday, Commander Sachal Rangers (District West) Brig. Waseem Ayub told journalists on Saturday.
At a joint press conference with DIG West Khwaja Sultan organised at the Jahangir Khan Squash Complex in North Nazimabad, Brig. Ayub warned that the possibility of a terrorist attack cannot be ruled out and to prevent any untoward incident, 1,022 rangers personnel with an additional team of 2,615 members from the Sindh police will be deployed across the five union councils of PS-94 in Orangi Town. Pickets have been established outside all 89 polling stations in union councils 2, 3, 4, 5 and 9 of PS-94. Of these, 21 polling stations have been declared sensitive and 12 is “most sensitive”. The total number of polling booths set up is 310.
“There could be a suicide attack or terrorists could also use Improvised Explosive Devices (IED); we have to prepared for everything,” said Brig. Ayub, adding that at least six to eight rangers jawans will be deployed outside each polling station. A Rapid Reaction Force of 140 personnel has also been activated and it will reach any area under attack within two to three minutes. Additionally, a Rangers squad of 205 individuals will be kept on standby on Sunday.
“Apart from this, we will also modify our plan and may increase patrolling of rangers and the police in the adjacent areas of the constituency in the town,” said the brigadier.
DIG West Sultan Khwaja added that owing to the law and order situation in and around PS-94 in the recent past, the Sindh police has also decided to keep 20 of its vehicles and 374 police personnel on standby apart from the 87 vehicles and 2,241 policemen who will be guarding polling stations and patrolling the streets. Armored Personnel Carriers and 70 mobile units would patrol the area with 50 motorcycle squads. “We have taken all the possible measures to ensure that the elections are conducted in a peaceful and secure environment,” said Khwaja.
The contesting candidates are Saif-uddin Khalid of the MQM, Riaz Gul of the ANP and three independent candidates Zeenat Yasmeen, Abdul Haq and Masood Alam. Polling is expected to last for nine hours from 8 am to 5 pm without any break. PS-94 is a provincial assembly seat that fell vacant after the assassination of MQM MPA Raza Haider in August this year inside the premises of the Jamia Masjid in Nazimabad where he had gone to attend the funeral of a friend’s mother.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 17th, 2010.