­PESHAWAR - Following the tragic suicide attack on a political rally in Peshawar, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa caretaker government has decided to replace top bureaucrats of the province for ‘committing negligence and security lapse’.

The interim provincial cabinet during a meeting decided to replace the chief secretary, provincial police chief, secretary home and commissioner Peshawar from their posts forthwith.

The decision was taken by the provincial government after they (top bureaucrats) failed to take necessary security measures in the province ahead of the general elections to prevent terrorist acts. The changes were proposed in a document prepared by the interim chief minister for the Election Commission of Pakistan, federal government and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Establishment Department.

Earlier on last Tuesday, a suicide attack on the corner meeting of Awami National Party (ANP) left the party’s PK-78 candidate Haroon Bilour along with 20 others dead. Following the incident, Interim CM Justice (retd) Dost Muhammad Khan called an emergency cabinet meeting to discuss the situation.

Sources informed that Chief Minister Dost Muhammad expressed concern over the performance of Inspector General Police and Chief Secretary for not following the already finalised Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to ensure flawless security arrangements in the city shared with them a few days prior to the tragic incident.

Sources while quoted the CM as saying that he had given the SOPs to Chief Secretary Kamran Balouch and IG Police Muhammad Tahir but they did not follow them. The CM decided that the officers would be removed from their positions.

As per the proposal, Chief Secretary Balouch, IG Tahir, Commissioner Shahab Ali Shah and Home Secretary Ikramullah are to be replaced. The document further stated that in the night long emergency meeting held at CM House, Balouch failed to submit even a single report on the events and tasks of the day and also failed to plan proper security arrangements.

Caretaker Chief Minister Justice (Retd) Dost Muhammad in the letter requested the federal government to return Balouch and place senior official Ahmed Hanif at the provincial government’s disposal as the new chief secretary with immediate effect. The CM in the letter said that an hour’s delay in the matter may lead to dire consequences.

In the same vein, Dr Naeem Khan, (PSP-BS 21) was proposed as the replacement for IG Muhammad Tahir, adding the incumbent IG was not complying in true letter and spirit with the requirements of the decisions taken in the emergency meeting.

Similarly, Commissioner Shahab was termed an “unwilling worker” in the proposal and Chief Minister Dost Muhammad proposed Principal Secretary to CM Akbar Khan as a replacement for Shahab. Besides, a request was also made to replace Home Secretary Ikramullah with Incumbent Secretary Environment Department Zakir Hussain Afridi (BS-20).

BLAST TOLL RISES TO 22

A wave of gloom and fear prevails in Peshawar and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa after martyrdom of Haroon Bilour while the death toll of the Tuesday’s blast reached 22 including four persons of the same family who were present in ANP corner meeting.

Adil, 25, son of Jan Sher, who was seriously injured in Yakatoot suicide blast succumbed to his injuries in Lady Reading Hospital, raising the toll to 22 while 7 seriously injured persons are still under treatment in the hospital.

On the other hand, 4 persons of the same family were martyred in the attack while another died due to cardiac arrest triggered by severe shock. Gul, resident of Yakatoot, was passing through the venue of the corner meeting along with his 13-year-old nephew Wahab while his two other relatives were present in the corner meeting, who were also hit by the attack.

Later, hearing of the death of his relatives, brother in law of Gul also died of cardiac arrest.

Another ANP worker and former nazim Malik Noor Rahman survived two blasts, as earlier to this, he was injured in a suicide blast on Malak Saad in 2007 while this time he sustained injuries.

Talking to journalists, Malik Noor Rahman said he was present at the stage near Ilyas Bilour. When Haroon Bilour reached the venue and was coming towards the stage, a huge blast took place, he said. He said after the blast, he went unconscious and later found himself in the hospital after regaining consciousness. He said that it was second time that he survived a bomb blast as earlier to this; several of his friends were martyred along with Malak Saad.

Meanwhile, security has been beefed up across the provincial metropolis and extra contingents of police have been deployed on all important entry points leading to Peshawar. Check posts near the recently merged tribal districts have been activated for strict monitoring to thwart terrorists activities.