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Security on high alert after Peshawar blast

HYDERABAD: Police has been put on high alert while additional force is being deputed at corner meetings and public meetings of the contesting candidates in the district.
This was stated by Senior Superintendent of Police Rai Aijaz Ahmed while talking to media men here.  He said during election campaign Code of Conduct would be strictly implemented. He said the police was acting on removal of banners, panaflex and political party flags installed at government buildings and poles. Additional police force was deployed at different parts of the district following the incident of Peshawar blast, he added.
He said that installation of CCTV Cameras at the polling stations was in progress to keep a vigil on the anti-social elements.  He vowed to provide required security for the safety of leaders of political parties. The SSP said that police contingents posted for security at different houses and individuals was withdrawn and 300 jawans are being posted at different police stations of the district. He said the security provided to political parties houses individuals were withdrawn a month back on the directives of Supreme Court of Pakistan. However, according to law, security has been provided at the residence of former President Asif Ali Zardari. He informed that police was ordered to register FIR against political parties using high volume speakers for announcement and songs. He said there is no restriction on hoisting party flags at vehicles. He said all the Station House Officers of the district have been transferred from the police station to maintain the impartiality of police while police officials are directed to remain impartial in supporting any political party.

A relevant piece published earlier:  Banned militant outfit TTP has today claimed responsibility for the suicide attack carried out on ANP leader Barrister Haroon Bilour. People of every walk of life including senior politicians and civil society have strongly condemned the suicide attack on ANP corner meeting in Peshawar last night and termed it cowardice act of terrorism.  Chief of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Imran Khan, Chairman Pakistan Peoples’ Party Bilawal Bhutto Zardari , President Pakistan Muslim League-N Shehbaz Sharif, ANP Chief Asfandyar Wali Khan, Governor Sindh Muhammad Zubair, former Chief Minister KP Pervez Khattak and others leaders have strongly condemned the suicide attack in Peshawar that killed at least 20 people including ANP leader Haroon Bilour and injuring 66 others.
In separate tweet and condolence messages, PTI Chief Imran Khan expressed sorrow over the death of ANP leader Haroon Bilour and other ANP workers in the blast and expressed sympathies with members of the victims’ families.  He called for the provision of foolproof security to all political leaders and candidates during their election campaigns. PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has also expressed sorrow over the martyrdom of Haroon Bilour and others workers of ANP. Bilawal Bhutto said terror attack on pro-democracy individuals was a conspiracy. PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif also grieved over the death of Haroon Bilour and strongly condemned this barbaric act of terrorism. “Bilour family has suffered the worst terrorist violence and rendered great sacrifices for the country,” he noted. Bashir Bilour Shaheed was a brave leader who was martyred in similar terrorists attack six years ago and the sacrifices of Haroon Bilour would not go waste, he said. Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP) chief Mustafa Kamal said those elements, who had cloured their hands with the blood of innocents people in Peshawar, did not deserve mercy. He called the authorities for bringing the perpetrators of Peshawar blast to justice. Cricket star Shahid Afridi also denounced the blast and termed Haroon Bilour was a brave son of a brave father whose sacrifice will not go waste. ANP senior leader Mian Iftikhar Hussain has strongly condemned the attack on ANP rally and termed it an attempt to derailing democratic system in the country. He said ANP will fully participate in the election despite the attack. Ex-Finance Minister Miftah Ismail, PTI leaders Asad Umar, Ali Haider Zaidi, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Faisal Vowda, Firdus Asiq Awani, former Federal Minister Rehman Malik, ANP leader Wajid Ali Khan have grieved over the death of Haroon Bilour and others ANP workers in the blast. A suicide bomber attacked a corner meeting in the Yakatoot area of Peshawar this evening killing twelve including the ANP candidate Barrister Haroon Bilour and injuring 65.  According to details the suicide bomber was present in the corner meeting and detonated 8kgs Trinitrotoluene near Haroon Bilour (contesting the election from PK-87 on ANP’s ticket) during a display of fireworks. He was taken to Lady Reading Hospital where he was announced dead on arrival.  Bilour family had confirmed the death of Haroon Bilour in the explosion. Injured, that include Danyal Bilour teenaged son of deceased Haroon Bilour, have been taken to Lady Reading Hospital.  It is pertinent to mention here that his father Bashir Ahmed Balour (Senior Provincial Minister) too was killed back in 2012 by a Pakistani Taliban suicide bomber during an ANP meeting in Dhaki Nal Bandi Area near Qissa Khawani Bazar of Peshawar. Taliban believe that secular parties like ANP support the ‘War on Terror’. 

Prime Minister Justice (Retd) Nasir-ul-Mulk Tuesday strongly condemned the bomb blast in Peshawar, which caused loss of precious human lives and injuries.  Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sardar Muhammad Raza condemning the attack held: “This shows the weakness of our security institutions and a conspiracy against transparent elections.” Speaker National Assembly Sardar Ayaz Sadiq has strongly condemned the bomb blast at an election rally ANP at Yakatott Area, Peshawar in which senior leader of ANP Barrister Haroon Bilour and others lost their lives. In his statement, the Speaker termed it a barbaric and shameful act of terrorism and expressed heartfelt grief and sorrow over the loss of precious lives. He said that the elements involved in such activities were the enemies of the humanity and wanted to sabotage the democratic process in the country. He said that such shameful acts could not deter firm resolve against terrorism. He called upon the authorities for bringing the perpetrators of Peshawar blast to justice. He sympathized with bereaved families and prayed to Almighty Allah to rest the souls of martyred in eternal peace. He also prayed for early recovery of injured. Caretaker Chief Minister (CM) Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Dost Muhammad Khan has said that all those elements responsible for suicide attack on Awami National Party (ANP) rally in Peshawar will be brought to justice. He said that a detailed investigation would be carried out to know if there was any security’s lapse. The CM said through such cowardice acts, the resolve of the nation could not be shaken in the fight against terrorism. He expressed these views after an emergency meeting about law and order situation following the blast. The meeting was attended by Chief Secretary, IGP KP besides other senior officials of Police and other departments. The CM directed the authorities concerned to examine all aspects of the blast so that perpetrators could be unmasked before the nation. He said holding of a free and transparent election is the prime responsibility of the caretaker government and every possible step will be taken to achieve this objective. Meanwhile, a five-member cabinet delegation of the caretaker government of KP visited the residence of Shaheed Haroon Bilour and expressed condolence with members of the bereaved family.  The caretaker ministers include Zafar Iqbal Bangash, Fazl Elahi, Asadullah  Chamakani and Muhammad Rashid Khan and expressed grief, sorrow over the death of Haroon Bilour. They prayed for the rest of the departed soul in eternal peace and grant courage to the bereaved family to bear this loss with patience. The Minister also prayed for early recovery of the blast’s injured and directed hospitals administration to provide best medical facilities to the victims.

M M Alam

M. M. Alam is a Pakistan-based working journalist since 1981. Karachi University faculty gold medalist Alam began his career four decades ago by writing for Dawn, Pakistan’s highest circulating English daily. He has worked for region’s leading publications, global aviation periodicals including Rotors (of USA) and vetted New York Times as permanent employee of daily Express Tribune. Alam regularly covers international aviation and defense-related events including Salon Du Bourget (France), Farnborough (United Kingdom), Dubai (UAE). Alam has reported thousands of events and interviewed hundreds of people in Pakistan, UAE, EU, UK and USA. Being Francophone Alam also coordinates with a number of French publications.