'Pakistan plotting to sabotage runoff vote'
KABUL (Pajhwok): Defence Minister Bismillah Khan Mohammadi on Saturday said Pakistan had embarked on plots to sabotage the second round of presidential elections slated for June 14, but tight security arrangements had been put in place to secure the crucial vote.
Mohammadi was summoned by the lower house or Wolesi Jirga along with deputy interior minister and deputy National Directorate of Security (NDS) chief to brief lawmakers about the escalating violence in parts of the country.
Speaker Abdul Rauf Ibrahimi said the level of violence had recently increased across the country. He said the armed opposition groups had intensified their attacks to scuttle the runoff election, asking security organs to come up with the same measures they had adopted for the April 5 elections.
Mohammadi said the insurgents, after failing to reach their targets in the previous round, were making last-ditch effort to derail the elections on the back of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence or ISI.
But he said the Afghan forces had adopted stringent security measures to ensure the elections passed off in a peaceful environment like the previous round.
“No matter how much force the enemy uses, God willing, the elections will be held in a peaceful environment,” assured the defence minister. Mohammadi also said Pakistan had no intention to support the Afghan peace process.
Deputy interior minister Mohammad Ayub Salangi said foreign and local insurgent groups wanted to disrupt the elections.
He said his ministry had held talks with all provincial police chiefs and they had declared their readiness to provide security during the elections.
A joint commission of security organs was making trips to provinces to examine security arrangements and the final report on election security would be shared with the parliament, Salangi said.
For his part, deputy NDS chief Hassamuddin Marzi said the overall security situation in the country had improved as compared to the previous year.
He said the anti-government forces had been unable to disrupt the previous elections and were now bringing into use all their resources to create problems for the runoff vote.
“We have told our agents to stop office works and instead focus on thwarting the enemy’s plans so that the elections are held in a peaceful way.” He said extraordinary security measures would be taken for the upcoming elections.
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