Home Latest News Punjab Bans Display of Weapons, Aerial Firing till Feb. 12

Punjab Bans Display of Weapons, Aerial Firing till Feb. 12

Notification states decision taken in light of security threats ahead of and during Feb. 8 general elections

by Staff Report

File photo. Arif Ali—AFP

The interim Punjab government on Tuesday imposed Section 144 in the province until Feb. 12 over security risks ahead of the Feb. 8 general elections, barring the display of any weapons as well as aerial firing during election campaigns.

A notification issued by the provincial Home Department said that there are reports of security threats and threats to public peace ahead of and during the Feb. 8 polls. “In the wake of these elections, a large number of political gatherings, rallies, corner meetings are likely to be held by the contesting candidates and political parties for 141 and 297 seats of National and provincial assembly, respectively, all over Punjab which may serve as soft targets for any desperate act by terrorists and miscreants,” it read.

Citing past incidents, the notification further noted the likelihood of conflicts between competing candidates and opposing political parties or groups in various regions. “The ensuing security milieu demands extraordinary vigilance and extensive security measures to preempt any untoward incident, in the larger interest of internal security,” it stressed.

In addition to the ban on displaying weapons and all types of firing, the imposition of Section 144 has also barred violations to any clause of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP)’s code of conduct for the polls.

There has been a resurgence of terrorism nationwide since the Afghan Taliban returned to power in Kabul in August 2021. This year alone, there have been several attacks targeting candidates, though political parties have largely continued their campaigns, albeit in a more muted manner than traditionally observed. Also on Tuesday, the interim federal cabinet approved an Interior Ministry recommendation to deploy Army troops and civil armed forces personnel to help the ECP meet a 277,000 shortfall of officials needed for election duty.

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