ISLAMABAD - The Election Commission has summoned Chief of National Coordination Counter-Terrorism Authority today (Saturday) to brief the electoral body on security threats to leaders of political parties.

In a letter written to the NACTA, the Commission said it should be briefed about the security arrangements for political parties and overall security situation in the country.

As terrorist incidents experience an upsurge ahead of the July 25 countrywide polls, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) summoned officials of the National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) for a briefing over the security threats faced by election candidates.

The commission has directed NACTA’s national coordinator to appear before it on Saturday and provide a detailed briefing to the chief election commissioner (CEC) on security threats being faced by politicians and candidates, an ECP spokesman said.

CEC Sardar Muhammad Raza strongly condemned an attack near the convoy of former Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chief minister Akram Khan Durrani in Bannu earlier in the day. He has sought a report into the incident from the caretaker chief minister, inspector general of police and chief secretary of KP. According to the spokesman, the retired justice has directed all federal and provincial governments to take steps to create a peaceful and favourable atmosphere for the elections and provide security to all candidates without any discrimination.

“The KP government should explain why adequate security steps were not taken despite repeated instructions from the ECP to ensure candidates’ security,” he was quoted as saying.

Meanwhile, the commission has declared more than 17,000 polling stations in the country as extremely sensitive. According to the ECP, a total of 5,487 polling stations have been declared in Punjab and Islamabad, 5,878 polling stations in Sindh, 3,874 in KP and 1,768 in Balochistan.  The blast targeting Durrani was the third major attack in KP during electioneering, just days ahead of the general election 2018. On Monday, Awami National Party (ANP) candidate from Peshawar’s PK-78 Haroon Bilour and score of others were killed in a suicide blast.

The attack was claimed by the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) which had also claimed responsibility for 2012 attack that killed Haroon’s father, Bashir Bilour.