Law enforcement authorities tightened the security of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and other high-profile personalities on Saturday in the wake of a provincial home department warning of an assassination plot by India’s Research & Analysis Wing (RAW).
In a chilling notice issued on October 9, the Punjab home department stated that RAW, in collusion with some banned organisations, could hit important political personalities, including Premier Nawaz.
The home department has directed the law enforcement agencies (LEAs) to strengthen security of the premier and Hafiz Saeed, who heads the banned Jamaatud Dawa (JuD) – both of whom, according to the government, are likely targets. Among other likely targets are high-profile personalities, some of whom are part of the present government.
In the wake of the security warning, all the LEAs are on high alert. The IG Office, CCPO, DIG Security, DIG Operations and other relevant sub-departments providing security to high-profile personalities have reviewed and reinforced their security plans for the premier in the federal capital of Islamabad, as well as the provincial capital of Lahore.
Police and other law enforcement agencies have advised all the high-profile personalities to stay vigilant during public movement.
The claim that RAW could garner support from proscribed groups for its attacks has resulted in massive police crackdowns on regional offices of such outfits.
A senior police officer, on the condition of anonymity, said law enforcers had taken a number of measures to restrict the movement of banned organisations to limit the threat.
He said the security plan for Muharram as well as the route of important personalities had been revised in view of the fresh threat alert.
PM’s Chief Security Officer Muhammad Zeeshan has been asked to improve the premier’s security and to be more vigilant, particularly at his residence in Jati Umrah town near Lahore.
After Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) chief Malik Ishaq was killed in a police encounter in Muzaffargarh on July 29, his militant group had announced that Ishaq’s killing would be avenged. Punjab Home Minister Col (retd) Shuja Khanzada was killed in a suicide attack on his political office in Shadi Khan near Attock on August 15. And police saw the LeJ’s involvement in the incident.
Law enforcement officials believe the LeJ would support RAW in carrying out specific targeted attacks on Nawaz and his younger brother, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif.
Neither Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah nor the Punjab home secretary was available for comment on the development.
According to TV reports, however, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has confirmed RAW’s plan of targeting high-profile personalities in Pakistan, including the premier. Dar said Premier Nawaz would take up the issue with US President Barack Obama and discuss with him RAW’s involvement in Pakistan’s internal affairs.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 18th, 2015.