The fast deteriorating law and order situation in the form of a growing terrorist activity in the country, is indeed an enormous challenge, as observed by caretaker Prime Minister Justice (r) Mir Hazar Khan Khoso. He expressed the resolve to conducting this arduous task successfully, while at a meeting with the chief ministers of Punjab, KPK and Balochistan and the chief secretary of Sindh at Islamabad on Friday.

As time passes, the apprehension grows that the TTP-sponsored militants might strike at a high-profile political leader or cause a major loss of life, compelling the voters to re-think whether they should take the risk of getting out of their homes and walk up to the polling stations to cast their vote. Only recently, prominent political figures, specifically those of left leaning parties, have been targeted while canvassing. Every day witnesses an election rally or two taking place somewhere in the country, hit by bombs or rockets resulting in death and devastation. On Friday, an election-related public meeting in South Waziristan came under rocket attack, killing one and injuring three others; and on Saturday, the Jama’at-i-Islami office at Karachi was torched and a hospital in the Bajaur Agency bombed, putting to death five persons and wounding numerous others. Such dreadful scenes occurring so near the Election Day are not likely to be forgotten easily, especially when the security climate is not changing; rather, it continues to worsen. The days of respite from terroristic mayhem have apparently gone. So far, the assurances of providing “foolproof” security have failed to materialise. That cannot fail to have a serious psychological impact, more particularly on those who were present at the scene of tragedy but either managed to escape unhurt or were wounded. There is dire need to tie things up quickly to give assurance of security to the voters at large.

Information Minister Arif Nizami, who briefed the media after the meeting, said that the Prime Minister asked the chief ministers to indicate the strength of the paramilitary force they needed to maintain a peaceful law and order situation before and on the Election Day. Mr Nizami said that KPK had already given an estimate of 10,000 security personnel and the federal authorities had agreed to the proposal. Other provinces would have also to hurry; for, otherwise matters would prove difficult to keep organised. Leaders of political parties should also be contacted to know their requirements. Similarly, it was good to hear him say, the government would provide the foreign observers of the polling “foolproof” security. Any harm to them would hit the headlines in the world media and further mar the name of Pakistan, apart from raising an eyebrow about the credibility of the elections. The concern about disturbance is understandable. We strongly believe that as the people across the board are eagerly awaiting the chance to choose a new set of rulers, the security forces must live up to their commitments that the electorate should have no fear to exercise their right of franchise.