–Shaukat Javed says security of all political leaders upgraded on par with prime minister
–Says July 13 security plan was ‘made on merit’ to avoid any untoward incident
LAHORE: Punjab Home Minister Shaukat Javed on Tuesday clarified that the interim government was neither targeting any specific political party nor was it victimising anyone as its prime responsibility was to conduct transparent elections after giving a level playing field to all candidates without any discrimination.
Speaking to media representatives at his office, he said that all actions of the caretaker government were neutral, however, he said, the government would utilise all available resources to implement the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) code of conduct and anyone involved in its violation would be dealt with.
Clarifying further, he said the interim government had taken a legal action against as many as 52 Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) candidates for violating the code of conduct while 48 candidates of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) had been charged for the same. Three candidates from Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and 73 from other political parties were booked in this regard as well, he added.
The minister said that divisional and district administration, as well as the police, were directed to take immediate action against the violation of the code of conduct. “Everybody should discharge their duties with honesty and dedication. We will be able to discharge our national duty in an effective manner, if we work with honesty and dedication. The interim government is taking all possible measures in this regard with consultation.”
Replying to a question, Shaukat disclosed that the caretaker government, in the wake of suicide attacks in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan, had taken foolproof stringent measures on war footings to upgrade the security protocol of all top political players including PTI chief Imran Khan, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto and PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif on par with the prime minister.
He ensured that the electoral candidates and leadership of all political parties would be provided proper security cover during their electioneering and made it clear that there was no compromise on law and order and security of the political leadership.
The minister was of the opinion that it was the responsibility of the Punjab government to not only arrange free and impartial elections, but also to provide security to all participants during the upcoming polls.
Shaukat also said that foolproof security would exclusively be provided to the candidates or political leaders who were facing serious life threats.
“It is the responsibility of the interim provincial government to offer the voters a peaceful, conducive and favorable environment on the polling day,” he said, adding that it would be ensured that both their lives and properties were protected and at all costs.
Responding to a question, Shaukat said the Punjab government’s July 13 security plan was made on merit to avoid any untoward incident in the city on the eve of PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif’s arrival at the airport and criticism from different corners of the society against Punjab government was clubbed with vested interests. “Our prime responsibility is to protect the lives and properties of the common people and we succeeded to do this by the grace of Allah,” he added.
He said around 143 PML-N workers were detained lawfully by the competent authority on July 13 and all of them were released immediately after Nawaz was taken to Islamabad. He said the caretaker government had no plans to detain any political worker unlawfully, adding that action would only be taken against those who would violate the law.
Speaking of the arrangements for the July 25 – the election day – he said good quality CCTV cameras would be used in a professional manner. He directed the officials concerned that there should be no complaints regarding any malfunctioning and said the security plan for rallies and public gatherings should strictly be implemented.