Politicians worried about security as elections near

February 28, 2013 - 9:14:07 am

PESHAWAR: As Pakistan prepares for the upcoming general election, politicians and workers of political parties are concerned about security at public meetings and rallies likely to start next month.

After police and security forces, political leaders and workers remained the second prime target of suicide bombers, blasts and rocketing by militants during the past many years. Public meetings even inside the boundary walls are feared to be more prone to attacks.

Political activists from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Federally Administered Tribal Areas are more worried about law and order during election campaigns.

Chief Minister Haider Hoti recently survived a suicide attack while on his way to a public meeting in Mardan. He escaped a bombing last year in Nowshera after his helicopter took off after attending a public meeting.

Politicians are looking for adequate security ahead of electioneering. One can recall the sense of insecurity among political activists during the last election in February 2008.

Two days before the polling, a suicide bomber targeted the election office of PPP candidate Riaz Hussain in Parachinar. Sixty-one people were killed and scores wounded.

Hussain survived the bombing, but fell victim to target killing in Peshawar last month.

In February 2008, 36 people were killed and over 50 injured when a powerful bomb ripped through on election rally of the ANP in Nahqi village of Shabqadar tehsil in Charsadda. 

Senior ANP leaders, including its provincial head Afrasiab Khattak, Bashir Umarzai and Lawangin Khan and others, escaped unhurt.

Most heads of political parties from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have faced suicide bombings or other attacks while attending public meetings.