ISLAMABAD: A day after a candidate of the Awami National Party was killed in a bomb attack during an election meeting in Peshawar, the federal government decided on Wednesday to beef up security across the country.

A meeting presided over by caretaker Prime Minister retired Justice Nasirul Mulk discussed the overall security situation with reference to the July 25 general elections and security of political leadership and candidates.

Interior Minister Azam Khan, Law Minister Barrister Syed Ali Zafar, Secretary to the PM Suhail Aamir, Interior Secretary Yousaf Naseem Khokhar, Intelligence Bureau’s Director General Ihsan Ghani, National Coordina­tor of the National Counter Terrorism Authority (Nacta) Dr Mohammad Suleman, Additional Secretary to the PM Kazim Niaz and other senior government officials attended the meeting.

The prime minister directed the interior ministry to issue instructions to the provincial governments for beefing up security in the provinces.

He also ordered the local administration and law enforcement agencies to contact political leadership so as to apprise them of security arrangements being made by the government and seek their cooperation to avoid untoward incidents.

Justice Mulk decided to visit all the provinces to review security arrangements for peaceful and smooth conduct of the elections. In a related development, Interior Secretary Yousaf Naseem Khokhar had a video conference with all the provincial chief secretaries, home secretaries and inspectors general of police.

The suggestions to enhance security for high-profile political figures in the light of threat alerts issued by Nacta recently came under discussion during the video conference.

The conference called upon the political leadership to remain cautious and cooperate with the administration to help make their security foolproof.

It also stressed the need for strictly following the standard operating procedure on security.

Directives were also issued to enhance security for the heads of political parties.

Published in Dawn, July 12th, 2018

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