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Police, intelligence join hands for peaceful polls

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

With the general elections just around the corner, the Central Police Office (CPO) has revealed a comprehensive security strategy for the Punjab province as special task forces are constituted, comprising senior officials from the intelligence, security, and law enforcing agencies and local administration.

The special task forces, also called intelligence and security committees, are given the tasks to implement the Master-Plan to ward off any possible terror attempt besides providing security cover to the leading personalities, and international delegates during the elections 2013.

A couple of days ago, the Punjab police released a security strategy to be implemented across the province during the forthcoming elections to ensure peace, law and order and security for the leading personalities.

Perhaps, for the first time in the province, the government has decided to ensure close liaison among various intelligence, security, law enforcing agencies, and local administration at the provincial, regional and district level.

A police spokesperson said that Inspector General of Police (IGP) Punjab, Aftab Sultan, constituted various special committees to monitor the security situation round-the-clock by ensuring proper contacts among different security, intelligence, and law enforcing agencies to maintain, peace, law and order. The task forces would also provide security cover to the national leaders, important personalities, and, international journalists during the General Elections 2013 across the Punjab province.

The Provincial Intelligence and Security committee comprises 11 members and headed by Additional-IG Punjab. Commandant PC, Additional-IG Special Branch, Additional-IG (CTD), DIG Operations Punjab, Additional Home Secretary Punjab, and representative of Intelligence Bureau, ISI, MI, and DG Rescue-1122, and DG Civil Defense are members of the committee.

This committee would report to the IGP about the security and intelligence related issues involving national leaders, important personalities, and international journalists in the province.

The Regional Intelligence and Security committee comprises 8 members and headed by the RPO concerned. The DPOs, SPs of Special Branch and CTD, and a representative of divisional administration, Intelligence Bureau, ISI, MI, divisional head of the Rescue-1122, and divisional head of Civil Defense would be the members of the committee.

The committees would not only share intelligence with the security committees on regular basis but also actively work on the threat assessments. The committees are also directed to properly implement the code of conduct of the Election Commission of Pakistan for the Election 2013. In the light of the Master Plan, it will be the responsibility of the committees to review security plan.

Similarly, the District Intelligence and Operational committees headed the DPO concerned would also be established in each district. The SP Headquarters in each district, SDPOs, and a representative of district administration, Intelligence Bureau, ISI, MI, Rescue-1122, and Civil Defense would be the members of the committee.

The committees would not only share intelligence with the security committees on regular basis but also actively work on threat assessments. The committees are also bound to properly implement the code of conduct of the Election Commission of Pakistan of the Elections 2013. In the light of the Master Plan, it will be the responsibility of the committees to review security plan.

Since caretakers have taken over in the center and the provinces, pledging free, fair, and transparent elections in the country, the initiatives like “ruthless scrutiny” of the candidates and the involvement of all the intelligence agencies at grass-root level has raised a few eyebrows in the country’s political system. Critics say that the move could an attempt to victimize some politicians in one or the other way.

Police officials believe that since the country is facing multiple internal and external security challenges, it is the need of the hour for the security, intelligence and law enforcing agencies to share intelligence and work together to ward off any possible terror attempt.

They argue that providing protection to the international observers and delegates is also the prime responsibility of the law enforcing agencies and all necessary steps would be taken to ensure peace.

Security officials say that since the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) had planned multiple suicide attacks to target key politicians and public rallies during the general elections, they have to take the threat alerts more seriously.

On the other hand, uncertainty has gripped the entire police department as the government is planning a major reshuffle to bring new officer to replace the hand-picked of the previous regime. Only time will tell whether the new provincial police officer puts the right men at the right places or he would “say yes” to the recommendations to be sent from the quarters concerned.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/asianet/130409/police-intelligence-join-hands-peaceful-polls