Information minister accuses Taliban of derailing elections

Monday, April 29th, 2013 8:30:01 by

Information Minister, Arif Nizami Monday accused the Taliban and other armed groups of sabotaging the upcoming landmark parliamentary elections under a “very organised campaign.”


“This is an existential threat and it’s not new. There is a very organised campaign to sabotage the election,” Nizami told the Islamabad-based foreign media at a briefing.


Elections will be held on May 11 and the Taliban have publicly announced to target three major liberal parties.


The Information Minister admitted that there is a clear and present danger from the armed militants who are bent upon eliminating candidates, political activists and to terrify voters to keep them away from the polling stations.


Taliban have carried out series of attacks in recent days, killing dozens of political workers, including a candidate.


The Interior Ministry had earlier warned of attacks by the Taliban and other banned groups in northwest Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan and tribal regions. The Taliban have also carried out several attacks in the port city of Karachi.


Nizami said the caretaker government is working closely with security and intelligence agencies to ensure security to candidates and to frustrate the plans of militants.


The minister referred to threats by Pakistani Taliban spokesman Ihsanullah Ihsan, who has stated that militants would target secular parties, adding that the authorities aretaking measures for protect candidates.


He said the attacks and threats cannot derail the election process and polls will be held on time despite all threats. He also acknowledged that some parties have conveyed their concerns over repeated attacks to the government that proper security has not been provided to them.


Nizami said that the threats and attacks could affect the turnout on election day, however, he said the parties under attacks have declared that they would take part in the elections.


The government also started deployment of troops in some sensitive areas and on Monday army was deployed in parts of the restive Balochistan province to ensure peace in the province.



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