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Steps taken for protection of political leaders: Interior minister informs Senate

ISLAMABAD: Caretaker Interior Minister Azam Khan has said all out measures have been taken for the protection of political leaders and election gatherings.

Responding to a discussion in the Senate on law and order on Friday, the minister said an election coordination and facilitation cell has been established in Islamabad which is working round the clock.

He said the cell is conducting effective coordination with all the stakeholders, particularly the provincial governments, Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), Islamabad Capital Territory administration, and National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) for ensuring law and order in the country during electioneering.

He said civil armed forces have been deployment as per requirements of the provincial governments and the ECP, NACTA, Intelligence Bureau and other intelligence agencies are also supporting the ministry of interior in this regard.

The minister said Pakistan army shall be deployed inside and outside of the polling stations for security purposes, while provincial governments shall make arrangements for installation of CCTV cameras at highly sensitive polling stations.

He further said provincial governments have been requested to provide security to candidates, foreign observers and Chinese working on CPEC and other projects.

PML-N senators demand level-playing field

Earlier, taking part in the discussion, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) senators demanded level playing field in the election campaign and peaceful environment for transparent and credible elections in the country.

Asif Kirmani said the caretaker setup has failed to provide security to ensure transparent elections. He expressed concerns on the fresh wave of terrorism in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa targeting election rallies and killing several people.

Abdul Qayyum said PML-N does not believe in politics of conspiracies and everyone should come forward on the basis of performance. Ateeq Shaikh said free and fair elections are vital for continuity of democracy in the country.

Senator Pervaiz Rashid said credible elections reflect people’s will and everyone should accept this and there should be no interference in the way of free, fair, and transparent elections.

Mushahid Hussain Syed said caretakers have completely failed to deliver for holding neutral elections in the country. He said every institution should follow ECP’s code of conduct.

Ayesha Raza Farooq said it is an irony that a particular party is being facilitated, whereas PML-N candidates are being harassed and the ECP should take notice of this.

PML-N is afraid of likely defeat: PTI senator

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Shibli Faraz said PML-N is afraid of its likely defeat in the upcoming general election is maligning others.

PTI leader Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar said the government should provide complete security to all the political parties for a smooth and peaceful election.

Jamaat-e-Islami leader Mushtaq Ahmed said across the board accountability and free, fair, and transparent elections are vital for democracy in the country.

Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) leader Nighat Mirza said her party is not being allowed to run election campaign in Karachi and the ECP should take notice of this situation.

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