Rangers, FC to be deployed for
AJK elections: Sheikh Rashid

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ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed on Monday said that the federal cabinet would decide the fate of banned Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) in its meeting scheduled for today. 

“The Ministry of Interior has moved a summary to the cabinet to decide about the fate of proscribed TLP,” he said while addressing a press conference here at the Ministry of Interior. 

The federal government on April 15 had banned the TLP under the Anti-Terrorism Act 1997, days after violent protests erupted countrywide following the arrest of its leader Allama Saad Hussain Rizvi in Lahore. The banned religio-political party had filed an appeal against the decision before the interior ministry which formed a committee to hear its case.  

Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed

The ministry in the summary has forwarded the report of the committee for a final decision either to lift the proscription ban or not.  

The interior minister also announced that Rangers and Frontier Corps (FC) would be deployed in Azad Jammu & Kashmir (AJK) to ensure smooth conduct of election there. 

“On the request of Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), as many 7200 personnel of Rangers and FC will be deployed in AJK,” he said adding that more troops would be sent there on the request of the commission. 

He also said that like always the Pakistan Army along with the civil armed forces would remain on standby and would extend its help, if needed, in ensuring fair and transparent elections in the region where 25 July has been fixed for polling day. He ruled out that Pakistan Army would be deployed inside the polling stations. “If ECP made a request, then Army can be requested to perform its duties outside the polling stations to help for the conduct of fair and transparent elections.” 

Sheikh Rashid said that losers used to start crying foul before every election and Chairman Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Vice-President Maryam Nawaz have started doing the same. “The political leaders visit the region rarely, once in a life or after five to ten years and they mistakenly think that they are getting importance (by the locals),” he said. But both the opposition parties are going to lose the election, he stressed. 

Ali Amin Khan Gandapur

He said that Prime Minister Imran Khan was the only one that was getting importance in AJK and he was going to form next government in the region as a result of July 25 election. “The region’s situation demands that PM Imran Khan’s government should be formed in AJK” 

He said that PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz had a long desire to hold a sit-in in Islamabad and she wanted to bring the people here for demonstration on August 14 — the Independence Day, but now they have changed the venue from Islamabad to Karachi. “We will take action according to law if a sit-in was held,” he also said. 

The interior minister said that India had been making futile efforts to damage Pakistan and also created hurdles for it at the forum of Financial Action Task Force (FATF). He said India has always remained involved in sabotage activities in Pakistan but its “great Armed Forces and security agencies” have always foiled its sordid designs and would do the same in future. 

Replying to a question about the Afghanistan situation, he said that Foreign Office used to give its response on the issue regularly and Ministry of Interior only dealt with border management and had a strategy to deal with every situation in this regard.  

AJK CEC asks Imran Khan

In the wake of release of a video of Federal Minister for Kashmir Affairs Ali Ameen Khan Gandapur distributing money among people of Azad Jammu and Kashmir during electioneering, AJK Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Justice (r) Rashid Sulehria has written a letter to Prime Minister Imran Khan, asking him to instruct his ministers as well as provincial ministers not to violate the election code of conduct, 2021.

The CEC has asked the premier to ensure holding of free and fair elections in the AJK on July 25.

He has also told the prime minister that the AJK election commission will declare any candidate, in whose constituency it finds a violation of code of conduct, ineligible for contesting the elections.

Similarly, Sulehria has urged PM Imran to make sure state resources are not spent either for or against a certain political party.