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Karachi

July 12, 2018

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Sindh seeks parties’ help to ensure safe electioneering

Sindh’s caretaker government has once again appealed to all the contesting political parties to abide by the code of conduct set by the Election Commission of Pakistan and to cooperate with district and local administrations to ensure security for their electioneering.

A statement issued on Wednesday quoted Information Minister Jameel Yusuf as saying that the election candidates should cooperate with their respective local and district administrations to hold their rallies and corner meetings in a better and more secure manner.

The handout was issued in the context of Tuesday night’s terrorist attack during a polling campaign in Peshawar that left an Awami National Party (ANP) leader and other people dead as well as several injured.

The information minister said district administrations across Sindh are discharging their national duties with the best of their abilities to keep a strict vigil over all election activities being held in the province, including corner meetings, rallies, processions and large public gatherings.

He said this vigil is being carried out to prevent terrorists and other lawless elements from bringing about any untoward incident during electioneering across the province. Yusuf said the interim set-up is taking all possible measures to conduct the July 25 general elections in a peaceful atmosphere, but terrorists and other anti-state elements are desperately trying to sabotage law and order through their cowardly actions.

The government is committed to dealing with all terrorists with an iron hand to fulfil its mandate of ensuring free and fair elections on time, he added. Condemning the Peshawar attack, the minister expressed grief over the incident and sympathy for the family of ANP leader Haroon Bilour. His father Bashir Bilour was also murdered in a terrorist attack back in December 2012.

Haroon Bilour and 19 others lost their lives and at least 62 more were wounded when a suicide bomber targeted an ANP election rally in Peshawar’s central Yakatoot area late on Tuesday night. The death toll was confirmed by a spokesman for the Lady Reading Hospital, the city’s leading medical facility.

Condemning the terrorist attack, Chief Election Commissioner Sardar Mohammad Raza termed it a “weakness of security institutions”. He said the attack was a conspiracy against transparent elections, noting that the provincial governments were ordered to provide foolproof security to all the candidates.

Eyewitnesses said an election rally was arranged by the ANP in Yakatoot with Haroon Bilour being the keynote speaker. A bomb went off in the rally at around 11pm. They said Bilour had been warmly received by his supporters with fireworks on his arrival at the venue. As if waiting for his arrival, the assailant blew himself soon after. It is said he was not very far from Bilour when the bomb was set off.

Hajj leave

While the Sindh government has cancelled all types of leave of its employees until the electoral process is under way, it announced that relaxation can be given in cases of those who intend to perform hajj.

The notification said that in case of hajj, leave of the provincial administration’s employees will be approved only after due verification of the relevant documents by the administrative secretary of the government department concerned.

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