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Crisis cell placed at ECP’s disposal

May 02, 2013

ISLAMABAD: A day after the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) rejected observations that it was duty-bound to maintain law and order in the run-up to the general elections and asked those responsible to admit their failure, the caretaker government placed the National Crisis Management Cell, presently working under the ministry of interior, at the disposal of the ECP on Wednesday.

The NCMC is a repository of different “national assets”, which include representatives of intelligence agencies and specialised services.

“The decision was taken by the prime minister to allay concerns raised by the ECP regarding the law and order situation and is consistent with the government’s policy to assist the ECP in the conduct of general elections in a free and fair manner,” said a statement issued by the prime minister’s secretariat.

“Alluding to recent tragic incidents in various parts of the country as a result of bomb blasts and terrorist attacks, the prime minister termed them unfortunate and expressed concern over the prevailing law and order situation,” it said.

The prime minister has reiterated his resolve to leave no stone unturned for providing security to political leaders and candidates.

Although law and order was a provincial subject, the prime minister said, the federal government had been extending all possible assistance to the provincial governments for enhancing their capacity.

The caretaker government, having inherited the decade-old law and order problem, reaffirmed its commitment to take all that it takes to defeat the nefarious designs of those who threaten the life, property and honour of the people of Pakistan.

The statement said the issue of security and maintenance of law and order was given top priority in the very first meeting of the federal cabinet. Subsequently, a meeting attended by the chief ministers and chief secretaries of all provinces, representatives of federal/provincial law enforcement agencies, besides representatives of intelligence agencies was convened to discuss the mechanism for implementation of cabinet decisions.

The caretaker government decided to use all available resources, including deployment of the army and civil armed forces and permitted targeted operations in some parts of the country to flush out terrorists and anti-social elements.

The prime minister, who is personally monitoring the situation, is in touch with the provincial governments as well as the federal authorities. Besides, necessary directives are being issued to take remedial measures as and when deemed necessary.

The caretaker government praised the efforts being made by the ECP in conducting general elections and reiterated its commitment to continue working harmoniously for achieving a conducive environment with the objective of holding free, fair and transparent elections in the country, the statement said.

The ECP had asked those responsible for law and order on Tuesday to first accept their failure and then take concrete remedial measures.

It asked the caretaker government to put in place a mechanism for implementation of a report of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security as a first step to provide security to life, property and honour of people.

“One such mechanism could be a separate division directly under the control of the prime minister, including representatives of all intelligence and law enforcement agencies …..who should sit together at PM Secretariat and adopt necessary measures on a daily basis to solve the problem in the short term as well as long term,” the ECP said in a statement.

Pointing out that tragic events were taking place on a daily basis, the commission observed that all security and law enforcement agencies need to sit together, identify the root causes, propose action plans and then implement them in a well coordinated manner within given timelines. The ECP said it can only show a way out as the state’s law enforcement apparatus was working under the directions of the provincial governments and the federal government.

It also stressed that the ECP and caretaker governments can plan only for a short period of about 50 days whereas this problem has been wreaking havoc for more than a decade and obviously some pre-emptive measures were required to be initiated and implemented in the past decade to provide security to life, property and honour of helpless people of Pakistan on a permanent basis. Apparently nothing was done to achieve this goal so vital for smooth running of the state affairs.

The ECP advised all concerned to stop deceiving the people and themselves by blaming it for the security situation in the country.