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Sheikh Rashid feared low voter turnout,urged people to come out

17 July, 2018

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RAWALPINDI: Delaying the elections would lead to turmoil in the country, Awami Muslim League (AML) President Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said at a press conference on Monday.

He also said he feared low voter turnout and urged people to come out and vote on July 25to prevent a hung parliament and help Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan form a government.

Sheikh Rashid said people should vote for the pen and ink and the bat to bring change in the country, which is facing many challenges. The economy has collapsed, he said, adding that they hope to bring investment to the country and improve its economic condition as well as end unemployment.

“80pc of PML-N’s voters will vote for Imran Khan and I in two of Rawalpindi’s constituencies, and most PML-N union council chairmen have contacted and assured me of their support,” he said.

He said he was running a one-sided campaign against his opponent, who has not been campaigning in the city and had failed to hold any public meetings.

“We prepared a special motorcycle worth Rs15,000 for the election campaign in the city areas, and the campaign will be run on motorcycle,” he said.

“Imran Khan will arrive in Rawalpindi on July 22and address the people at Liaquat Bagh. He will make a speech at11:30pm after coming from a public meeting in Karachi,” he added.

The last public meeting of the election will also be held at Liaquat Bagh on July 23, he said, adding that workers and supporters would prove that Rawalpindi was with him and with Imran Khan.

Security staff deployed with two of Rawalpindi’s main election candidates, Sheikh Rashid and Hanif Abbasi, have been directed to be more vigilant in light of security concerns reported by the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) and the police’s Special Branch.

A comprehensive security advisory has been issued to all candidates, and meetings have been held with them to sensitise them of security concerns.

According to sources, directives regarding heightened security around the two politicians were given to the police during a recent meeting of the divisional intelligence committee.

Security for important politicians and election candidates, political gatherings and corner meetings and the law and order situation topped the agenda of the meeting, which was attended by the regional police officer (RPO), Rawalpindi city police officer (CPO) and the Attock, Jhelum and Chakwal district police officers (DPO) and chaired by the Rawalpindi commissioner.

Participants were asked to implement the standard operating procedure for security for important personalities and people under threat in public gatherings as outlined by the home department.

All deputy commissioners, DPOs and CPOs were direct to meet with election candidates and sensitise them on the threat perception and security protocol.

It was also decided that a senior police officer would contact Sheikh Rashid and PML-N’s Hanif Abbasi to share security concerns with them.

Security staff deployed with the two politicians have been directed to increase vigilance, particularly during movement in public.

Politicians contesting the general election have been asked to seek approval from the district management and Special Branch before deciding on a venue or stage for public meetings. The base ground of the stage will also be checked by a Special Branch team, and the stage will be erected in the presence of police and Special Branch officials.

Stages should not be more than 10ft high, and must be strong enough to bear the weight of the speakers and other individuals. The reception line should not contain more than five people, the names of whom should be communicated to the police and Special Branch for security clearance.

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