ISLAMABAD: Condemning the security lapse that led to the deadly attack on Awami National Party (ANP) leader Haroon Bilour’s election rally, senators from the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) said on Wednesday that the caretaker setup had failed to ensure a level-playing field ahead of the upcoming elections. They deplored the attack that led to loss of at least 20 lives and asked the interior ministry to submit a detailed report on it, besides seeking updates on election-related security measures from all four chief secretaries. The senators regretted despite reports of threats, the KP government failed to provide adequate security to the ANP leadership. They said that the suicide attack on Bilour’s election rally was also a failure of the intelligence agencies. In what appeared to be a plea addressed to the top court, they said that the people’s mandate should be honoured, and the directive for removal of security protocols assigned to various political leaders should immediately be withdrawn. Leader of the Opposition in the Senate Sherry Rehman said that some parties were being allowed to do their campaign, but others were facing attacks and intimidation tactics were being employed against them. PML-N senator Chaudhry Tanvir maintained that it was clear now that elements in the security establishment were in favour of the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) forming the next government. Others who spoke on the occasion were Saadia Abbasi, Mushahid Hussain Syed, Mulla Bux Chandio, Pervez Rashid, and Behramand Tangi. They expressed concern over the Supreme Court’s directives for removal of security protocols assigned to politicians. They termed the Tuesday night attack as part of a conspiracy to sabotage the elections, saying that the democratic forces should stay united and not let the elections to be delayed at any cost. Earlier, Senate Chairman Muhammad Sadiq Sanjrani said that terrorist and extremist mindset was once again out to sabotage the democratic process, and urged the democratic forces to forge unity among their ranks. He said the attack on Bilour’s convoy had taken place at a crucial juncture when the country was proceeding towards a general election and the campaign of political parties was at its peak. He called upon all parties to act in unity so that they could root out the forces out to hijack the system for their own vested interests. The Senate chairman expressed his solidarity with families that had lost loved ones in the blast, and recognised the losses suffered by the Bilour family in its fight to uphold the democratic process. He called upon the authorities concerned to conduct an independent inquiry into the incident and take strict action against those found involved. Caretaker Interior Minister Azam Khan informed the House that the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) had accepted responsibility of the attack. He said a meeting of the apex committee had been called in Peshawar on Thursday (today) to discuss the security situation, adding that the prime minister and heads of all security agencies would attend the meeting to decide a future course of action. Khan also told the House about the National Counter Terrorism Authority’s (NACTA) recent meeting to discuss election-related security measures. He urged leaders of the political parties to ensure implementation of the Election Commission of Pakistan’s code of conduct pertaining to security measures. He said political leaders must inform the administration about their movement so that proper arrangements could be made accordingly. Replying to a question, Khan said that the name of former president Asif Ali Zardari was placed on the Exit Control List on the Supreme Court’s orders. During the proceedings on Wednesday, the House passed a unanimous resolution condemning the suicide attack on Bilour’s election rally. Published in Daily Times, July 12th 2018.