Islamabad: A leading Pakistani daily Friday feared that militants could launch an offensive in their bid to scuttle the elections so as to weaken the fledgling democratic institutions and push the country into turmoil again.
An editorial in the Dawn said that while holding a transparent, fair vote is a huge task, ensuring security for the polls is an even bigger challenge.
"Chaos is what militants have been looking to create, and it is not difficult to understand why certain violent groups are so afraid of the democratic processes that an election triggers," it said.
The Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan has gone beyond issuing warnings of a general nature to mark the PPP, the Awami National Party and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement as the "unacceptable three whose public rallies they could target".
"This could seriously affect electioneering as it could deter those on the militants` hit-list from being too conspicuous. This makes the contest a little uneven," said the daily.
The editorial cited reports stating that "the militants could launch an offensive in their bid to scuttle the election as whole, to weaken the fledgling democratic institutions and to push the country into turmoil to suit their disruptive agenda".
An assessment by the federal interior ministry talks of a "massive terrorist threat" during the elections.
The provinces have been told to requisition the army in advance, wherever they thought that an army deployment would be necessary. Also, the corps commanders have met for the second time in three weeks to discuss an integrated security arrangement.
"...Given the enormity of the job, the need for a cohesive effort for a safe election cannot be overemphasised. In the days to come everyone will have to be on their toes to secure the process from the mischief-makers," the editorial said.