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Peshawar police say: Security to poll rallies impossible

March 14, 2013

PESHAWAR, March 13: The local police have refused to provide security to politicians and participants of public meetings during the election campaign, according to sources.

They said that police suggested to the political parties to confine their activities to compounds during the election campaign owing to threats of subversion.

An official told Dawn that every political party wanted deployment of sufficient number of law enforces for every public and corner meeting but it was impossible for police to meet the demand as the department was short of resources.

“How we can escort all politicians of all the political parties at the same time as they will visit houses and shops for offering con- dolences and attending wedding parties during the electioneering,” the official said.

Peshawar SSP (operations) Imran Shahid, when contacted, said that police had so far not devised a written policy but they had suggested to the candidates to avoid holding public meetings on roadsides as terrorists could strike anytime.

“I suggest that all the parties should realise the sensitivity of the situation and hold their meetings in compounds, government and private school build-ings and marriage halls,” he said.

The SSP said that besides bomb blasts and suicide attacks, chances of indiscriminate firing on the public meetings and politicians could not be rules out.

It was very difficult in the prevailing situation to provide police guards to all politicians and deploy law enforcers at every corner and public meeting, the official said, adding that during electioneering every party held many meetings in different areas at the same time.

Similarly, police have also asked the politicians to avoid display of weapons by their personal security guards and maintain law and order.

A meeting was held here on Wednesday with Deputy Commissioner Mohammad Javed Marwat in the chair to ensure implementation of Election Commission of Pakistan’s code of conduct.

Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl district chief Qari Rafiq Shah, Awami National Party district president Arbab Najeebullah, Jamaat-i-Islami district chief Advocate Bahrullah Khan, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz district president Abdul Sattar Khalil, Pakistan People’s Party district president Haji Almas, Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid president Sifatullah and Qaumi Watan Party leader Malik Saleem Chamkani attended the meeting.

The representatives of different political parties demanded of the authorities to transfer all the station house officers in the district before the elections so that they could not influence voters in the favour of ruling parties.

They said that candidates should be allowed to hire personal guards but the administration made it clear that without prior permission personal guards would not be allowed.

On the occasion, the politicians were asked to follow strictly the rules of Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) while preparing banners, hoardings and other material.

It was said that the candidates, who violated the rules about the prescribed size of banners, hoardings, handbills and posters, would have to face action.

The representatives of political parties were asked to remove all the hoardings, which were in violation of the rules of ECP.

Mr Marwat directed the officials of Municipal Corporation to remove all the illegal hoardings and billboards, saying that displaying such material on traffic signals and hospital boards would not be allowed.

The politicians assured the administration of their full cooperation in this regard.

Meanwhile, district administration under Section 144 has imposed ban on movement of vehicles with tinted glasses for 30 days in Peshawar.