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ISLAMABAD: Caretaker Interior Minister Sarfraz Bugti, on Friday, said that maximum security would be provided for the peaceful conduct of general elections scheduled for February 8 in the country.

“The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) will be provided full security for general elections,” he said while addressing at a press conference.

He said that paramilitary forces including Rangers and Frontier Constabulary (FC) which is under the control of the Ministry of Interior are conducting operations in Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Balochistan but despite that maximum security will be provided for elections as per the requirements of the ECP.

To a question about security threats to political leadership during the election campaign, he said that there are general threats to the political leadership of the country except JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman about whom the government has received security-specific threats.

“It is part of politics for leaders to go out and meet their people. We cannot force anyone to stay home. But we can ensure peaceful elections,” he said.

Responding to a question about reports of the issuance of Pakistani passports to Afghanistan’s acting Interior Minister Sirajuddin Haqqani and other foreign nationals, he said that an inquiry is underway in this regard and strict will action will be taken against people involved in it. Identity theft is a big crime and those involved in it will be brought to justice, he said.

The minister said that there is a ban on foreign nationals from taking part in local politics. Foreigners found involved in local political activities are being deported, he said, adding that initially, 10 such people have been identified who were involved in political activities.

They are being deported, he said, adding that the actual number of such individuals involved in domestic politics was more than the initial figures.

Bugti said that the repatriation plan is not country-specific. He said that illegal foreigners including Afghans are being deported. He said everybody with a valid passport and visa is welcome to Pakistan. About 482,000 immigrants who were living illegally in Pakistan have returned to their native country, he said.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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