Six political bigwigs cautioned of attack ahead of polls

Senate body asks interior ministry, LEAs to ensure foolproof security


Tariq Virk
The counter-terrorism authority on Monday foreshadowed six political bigwigs of an impending attack, one that could target them as the country gears up for the July 25 elections.
The National Counter-Terrorism Authority (Nacta) in a briefing to a Senate body told that these political leaders could be targeted during their electioneering campaigns across the country.
The Senate Standing Committee on Interior met on Monday with Senator Abdul Rehman Malik at the helm of affairs.
Nacta enumerated the politicians it has cautioned against a possible attack, aimed at their electioneering.
“Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan, heavyweights from Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Awami National Party (ANP) chief Asfandyar Wali Khan and provincial president Amir Haider Khan Hoti, JUI-F leader and KP former chief minister Akram Khan Durrani, Qaumi Watan Party (QWP) Chairman Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao and Jamaatud Dawa (JuD) chief and son of Hafiz Saeed, Hafiz Talha Saeed,” reeled off Nacta Director Obaid Farooq, briefing the Senate body on the names of the politicians.
Farooq further informed the committee that the authority had received some 12 generalised threat alerts and six targeted threats, issued to the aforementioned personas. However, no specific threat had been made to Nawaz Sharif, Shehbaz Sharif or Maryam Nawaz, all of which are the top hierarchy of PML-N.
The official further said that the details of the threats had been shared with the ministry of interior.
Senator Malik directed the ministry to ensure foolproof for the politicians and also asked the provincial authorities to aid the former with the task of securing the politicians.
During the meeting, Karachi DIG Javed Alam Odho was asked to brief the committee of the incident where Bilawal’s motorcade had been stopped and pelted when on an electioneering trip in downtown Lyari last week.
DIG Odho failed to satisfy the committee over the reasons and the precautions taken for the future, which irked the committee. “What measures were taken for the security of Bilawal Bhutto when he visited Lyari and why did the police not clear the area after it became apparent that the motorcade was under attack,” asked Senator Malik.
Odho claimed that Bilawal was provided with three SPs, six DSPs along with 600 police personnel of the Special Security Unit (SSU).
However, expressing dissatisfaction, the committee chairman asked the interior secretary to ensure the provision of security for high-ups of the political scenario.
The meeting also discussed the threats issued to NAB and suggested measures for the situation. However, police authorities along with NAB Vice Chairman had decided on a plan, including 48 security guards deputed at the site and 40 CCTV cameras installed along with a control room.
The committee also discussed the incident in Cholistan where three sisters disappeared and were found dead in the desert. The chairman expressed great annoyance on the ignorance of Punjab Police, directing the IG to ensure his presence in the next meeting with details on the incident.
Taking strong notice of the fact that Pakistan had been categorised in the Grey list by FATF, the body condemned the act by calling it a “mischievous act of Indian lobby”. Malik said that “the government must take adequate measures acceptable to the FATF so that the country could be removed from the grey list before its adverse impact.”
A resolution was passed by the committee appreciating the role and commitment of the ECP for taking necessary measures to ensure timely polls.
While discussing the matters of Immigration and Passport Office, the committee expressed concerns on how the black list was being managed and it was recommended that in the presence of an Exit Control List (ECL), the current black list should not be used for criminal cases; rather it should only pertain to offences related to passports.
“The blacklist has no legal status and neither anyone should be included in it on the desire or complaint of someone other than the court.
The Committee also suggested changing the name of the list from ‘black list’ to ‘restrictive list’ and called for the administrative minister to be in-charge for deciding the cases of adding or removing names from the list instead of taking it before cabinet for every case.

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