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July 14, 2018

Hike in terror acts: Candidates asked to inform police before rallies, meetings


July 14, 2018

PESHAWAR: After the recent attacks on election candidates in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan, the law-enforcement agencies have issued letters to all the contenders to inform the police ahead of scheduled rallies and meetings so that proper security arrangements could be made.

Two major attacks in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and another in Balochistan resulted in the death of dozens of people and injuries to several others. The recent attacks have scared not only the candidates and workers of different political parties but also the general public.

However, majority of the contenders have refused to stop going out in public and that too in the last stage of their election campaign as it will only benefit the rivals. "Keeping in view the security situation and to arrange proper security for election related activities, all the candidates are needed to inform the concerned police a day before any corner meeting. In case of any major event to be attended by important leaders, the police need to be informed three days before the event under the Election Code of Conduct 2018," stated a circular issued by the capital city police officials to the candidates of different political parties in Peshawar on Friday.

The letter asked the candidates to assign eight to 10 workers for security of their meetings to identify strangers to avert any untoward incident. "The workers of the party will assist police in frisking workers. The police will also deploy bomb disposal experts and sniffer dogs at major events to ensure adequate security," the circular said.

The police asked the candidates to arrange rallies and meetings at venues that could be easily secured. "The candidates should avoid holding gatherings in open places or roads. It should be also ensured that all the events are recorded on video cameras," the authorities asked the contesting candidates.

All the contenders were asked to keep their movement secret to avoid any attack. Attacks on the election candidates have increased over the last four days. In the first major attack on an election meeting in Peshawar, Awami National Party leader and a candidate for PK-78 Haroon Bashir Bilour was martyred along with 21 others on Tuesday. A number of party workers and locals were also wounded in the attack.

On Friday, former Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chief minister Akram Durrani survived a bomb attack on his convoy in Bannu that resulted in the death of at least four people and injuries to over 30 others.

A few hours later, another blast in Mastung district Balochistan targetted a political meeting of the Balochistan Awami Party. The candidate of the party for PB-35 and brother of former Balochistan Chief Minister Nawab Aslam Raisani, Siraj Raisani, was among 70 others martyred in the blast. Over 100 other people sustained injuries in the attack.

A number of attacks took place during the election campaign in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and rest of the country in the 2013 election. The law and order seemed better until last week but attacks on political gatherings started all of a sudden on Tuesday.

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