ISLAMABAD: The increasing number of terrorist attacks targeting political parties prompted the interior ministry on Monday to call an urgent meeting to review security arrangements across Pakistan in the run-up to the May 11 general elections.
The high-level meeting, called on special instructions by interim Prime Minister Mir Hazar Khan Khoso, was held under the supervision of Interior Minister Malik Mohammad Habib Khan.
The session was attended by the Federal Interior Secretary, the Inspector General of Police in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the Commandant Frontier Corps, and other senior officials of the country’s security agencies.
The meeting follows two bomb attacks in Swat and Charsadda on Sunday targeting leaders of the Awami National Party (ANP), a member of the outgoing coalition government. One ANP leader was killed in the Swat bombing, while another was injured in the attack in Charsadda.
Both attacks were claimed by the banned Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), which has vowed to target the three leading secular parties of the country.
Last week, a Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) candidate was gunned down in Hyderabad in an attack also claimed by the Taliban militants.
In a letter written to the Election Commission following Sunday’s attacks, ANP chief Asfandyar Wali Khan called for provision of adequate security to party leaders, members and contestants to ensure free and fair polls.
The letter was also sent to the President, interim Prime Minister, Chief Justice of Pakistan and interim Chief Ministers of all the four provinces.
The party has also threatened to take legal action against the ECP if any more of its leaders are attacked.
Monday’s high-level meeting discussed the prevailing security situation in the country, especially in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, in the wake of the attacks on the ANP and other political leaders and election candidates.
The caretaker interior minister ordered all security agencies to ramp up security for political leaders and candidates for the coming polls.
The interior minister also ordered for increased security at the offices of the election commission.