The local Taliban plans to target 35 top political leaders, including Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif, during the campaign for upcoming by-elections to provincial and national assemblies, Pakistani authorities said on Friday.
"We have intelligence reports that the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan plans to launch attacks on political and religious personalities, including Prime Minister Gilani, PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, (cricketer-turned politician) Imran Khan and Pakistan Awami League chief Sheikh Rashid Ahmed," Rana Sanaullah, Law Minister of Punjab province, told reporters.
Several persons who could be targeted by the militants, including Imran Khan and Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, are expected to contest the by-elections to be held on November 7.
The Punjab government has already filed a petition in the Lahore High Court asking it to defer the bye-polls due to security concerns.
"We have credible information (about the Taliban's plans) and that is why we have moved the court to defer the bye-elections," Sanaullah said, justifying his government's decision to file the petition in the High Court.
He said the provincial government would abide by the decision given by the High Court.