Amidst the live-streaming of Nawaz Sharif’s return and details of come-backs levelled by political parties to each other, there is a far bigger issue looming in the politics of Pakistan, an issue which is not being given due attention to. More threatening to the upcoming Elections is the rise of security threats to politicians and electoral candidates, with several blasts occurring the past week targeting election candidates.
This threat has been corroborated by National Counter Terrorism Authority (Nacta), whose chief Dr Suleman Ahmad informed the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) of the serious security threats to political leaders and revealed that the leaders of almost all major political parties faced the risk of being attacked. Politicians under threat include Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan, Awami National Party (ANP) leaders Asfandyar Wali Khan and Ameer Haider Hoti, and Qaumi Watan Party head Aftab Sherpao, as well as several top leaders of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).
Unfortunately it seems this enormous risk to security is being undermined by major political parties like PML-N, and particularly PTI, whose chairman continues to hold several rallies without properly assessing the security threat, that too, the day after a horrific blast in Mustang, which resulted in the deaths of 120 people.
Thankfully, some political leaders understand the gravity of the situation. PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto had planned to stage public gatherings in Peshawar but especially Malakand which had been successful for PPP in the past, yet he announced that he had suspended his party’s political activities all over Pakistan in solidarity with the recent terror victims, although he said he would still go to his constituencies and meet his party’s local leadership, and urged all stakeholders to unite to implement the National Action Plan. ANP President Ameer Haider Khan Hoti has also condemned the terrorist attacks on political events, adding that national institutions have failed to provide security to poll candidates and politicians.
The past few months, our national coverage has been focused on the bickering and partisan insults exchanged between political parties, and the spotlight has been taken away from bigger issues uniting us. Even though July 13th was victim to three major terrorist attacks, the focus of most of the media and politicians had been on Nawaz Sharif’s return and the ensuing drama, which add little substance to any actual prosperity for the country.