Govt agrees on civil armed forces security for polls n Interior minister Bugti says have no details of Army troops availability but ‘we will meet ECP requirement’ n Reveals political leaders including Fazl ur Rehman facing threats during elections n Caretaker Interior minister announces to deport Afghans living legally if found involved in political activities.
ISLAMABAD - Caretaker Interior Minister Sarfraz Ahmed Bugti on Friday said that the government was ready to provide security of civil armed forces for the February 8 elections but he had no details about the availability of Army troops for this purpose.
Our paramilitary forces are engaged in counterterrorism and other operations but despite all this, we will fulfil the requirements of the Elections Commission of Pakistan (ECP) with regard to deployment of civil armed forces, he said while addressing a press conference here at the Ministry of Interior.
Last week, the electoral watchdog had written to the interior ministry seeking for deployment of the Army and civil armed forces outside the polling stations to meet a countrywide shortfall of over 277,000 police personnel.
Giving the details, Bugti said that paramilitary forces that came under his command were busy in operations.
“Rangers are doing operations in Katcha areas of Sindh in difficult conditions. FC (Frontier Corps) Balochistan is overstretched in south and north in deteriorating security conditions of the province,” he said. He further said that Frontier Constabulary (FC) in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was facing a serious problem of terrorism. “Despite all these facts … We will try to provide maximum security.” At the same time, he told reporters that the deployment of the Army for the election was the domain of the Ministry of Defence and it can comment better on this matter.
Speaking on the issue of Afghan migrants, the interior minister said that all foreigners including Afghans residing legally in the country would also be deported immediately if found engaged in political activities.
He made it clear that any Afghan refugee or any foreigner who is either on a business or on any other visa or with any status would be deported within no time if found involved in local politics. “The right of politics only belongs to us (Pakistanis). We will do politics while remaining within the constitution,” he said. He underlined that the constitution did not allow any foreigner on a visa to do politics in Pakistan. “We will be left with no other option to deport him immediately (if he was found in such activities),” he said.
The minister informed that around 10 foreigners have been identified initially and the number is growing of such people involved in political activities and they were being deported.
He said the government was searching for such individuals.
Bugti said that over 482,000 illegal Afghan immigrants had left the country through various borders since the government started the deportation drive, with over 90 per cent returning voluntarily. He said the first phase of the deportation drive was still under way. He added that ultimately everyone has to go back to the second stage. “Finally, the time is coming when only Pakistanis will live in Pakistan.” He said that Foreign Office was in touch with the Afghan government from the first day but illegal aliens were not accommodated in any part of the world.
Talking about the threats to political leadership, the interior minister said that political leadership was facing threats during elections and they had received a specific threat to life of JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman.
He said that political leadership was exposed to terrorism during election days because they go to public gatherings and rallies. “It is a challenge (for the state) in the context of terrorism,” he said. He added that political leaders didn’t agree to stay at home as they want to remain in touch with the public to disseminate their election agenda.