RAWALPINDI, April 21: The inspector general of the Punjab police has directed all the divisional police officers to strictly implement the guidelines for security of candidates contesting the forthcoming general elections.
It has been learnt that 22 top political leaders have been put in ‘A++’, ‘A+’ and ‘A’ categories for their security while the remaining are catogerised as 1, 2,3,4,5 and 6.
A source in the police said a letter issued by the IGP to the divisional police chiefs, counter-terrorism department and the special branch had suggested that foolproof security would be provided to former prime ministers, chief ministers, governors and chiefs of political parties during their stay and travel in Punjab.
The VVIPs and VIPs placed in category ‘A++’ are President Asif Ali Zardari, Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) chief Nawaz Sharif, former chief minister Shahbaz Sharif, Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan, Bilawal Bhutto and former president and All Pakistan Muslim League (APML) chief retired General Pervez Musharraf.
Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) leader Farooq Sattar, JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party’s Mehmood Khan Achakzai and ANP leader Asfandyar Wali Khan have been put in the ‘A+’ category.
In ‘A’ category are Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao, Qamar Zaman Kaira, Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan, Munawar Hassan (JI), Sheikh Rashid Ahmed (AML), Maulana Samiul Haq JUI(S), Ejazul Haq PML (Zia), Pir Pagara (PML-F), Tahirul Qadri (PAT), Yousuf Raza Gilani (PPP), Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and Chaudhry Pervez Elahi (PML-Q).
Police here have been directed to submit a report on a daily basis regarding the movement of the political leaders residing in the Rawalpindi region.
The source said the “provincial threat assessment committee” will assess the level of threat the party heads might be facing and would decide the quantum of security to be provided to them.
The source said former federal and provincial ministers had been placed in category ‘2’ and they would be provided two police guards if the threat was of grave nature. However, they are allowed to hire private security guards on their own in addition to the police guards.
Each candidate has already been allowed by the government to keep four guards. However, their antecedents will be submitted to the concerned district police chief and the special branch. If any candidate needed more than four guards, he has to seek permission from the district police chief concerned.
The private security guards shall be issued temporary cards by the DPO after the clearance of the special branch.
The candidates having specific threats have been placed in the category ‘3’ and they will be provided one police guard. However, they can also hire four security guards on their own.
The source said the candidates belonging to sectarian groups like MWM or ASWJ had been placed in category ‘4’ and they can keep four private security guards. If they were not ready to do so, they will be asked to give in writing that they would be responsible in case of any attack on them.
Candidates in the constituencies where heads of political parties are contesting elections would be allowed to hire two private security guards. The weapons carried by the security guards must be licensed; however, no weapon would be allowed within 150 yards of the polling stations.