In a little-too-late overture, Prime Minister Justice Nasirul Mulk has called for paying special attention to safety and security of political leadership and general public during the election campaign. The decision comes off as a conciliatory afterthought in the wake of the Mastung and Bannu massacre -largely prompted by the public ire over the huge lapse in security. Moreover, the move is an ironic and belated retraction of the Chief Justice of Pakistans’ indiscriminate and gratuitous decision to withdraw inflated security personnel relegated across the country.

Retrospectively, where the CJPs blanket ruling to withdraw security entourages catered to a more populist sentiment, it had disregarded the legitimate security concerns of many individuals in the politico-bureacratic nexus. Ultimately, the lapse in security that culminated in the calculated terrorist attacks on ANP and the following massacre in Bannu and Mastung, while an act of radicalism, can be duly ascribed to the rampant over-lapping institutional prerogatives that have become the recent norm. Where the government has historically failed in legislating and drafting a rationalised set of parameters of police security at both provincial and federal levels to ascertain where its needed, the Judiciary, in its recently politicized garb, surpassed its ambit in issuing such a sweeping ruling. Thus, in the crosshairs of institutional disdain and politicking, the matter of security was discounted, ultimately at the expense of innocent lives.

Where the flagrant misuse of bloated security entourages under the auspices of VIP culture has definitely become a social ill, there should be a more evenhanded approach to remedying the issue. In a political climate that is permeated by radicalism and imminent threats of violence, state protection is a deserved right of the masses and certainly of state representatives that are risking their safety broaching crucial issues that challenge the status-quo and extremism. When the issue of state security becomes politicized, it risks the lives and safety of those who most need it. This is certainly not the country’s first election, and for a polity that is no stranger to constant terror threats, it seems to be the height of naiveté that the state apparatus disregarded security measures in lieu of an institutional tug-of-war. While the tumult of the election itself demands added security and vigilance, the dire security situation is a different ball-game altogether. It can only be hoped that the state apparatus pulls itself together to ensure the safety of all political parties and the public.