Institutions taking measures on threat alert, says minister as polls draw near

Elections will be held as per schedule, clarifies Information Minister Murtaza Solangi

Paramilitary personnel patrolling a street ride a vehicle in Islamabad on January 22, 2024. — AFP
Paramilitary personnel patrolling a street ride a vehicle in Islamabad on January 22, 2024. — AFP
  • Elections will be held as per schedule, clarifies info minister.    
  • He says security alerts issued on threats to people’s lives.
  • There is no problem in conducting upcoming elections, he says. 

Caretaker Information Minister Murtaza Solangi said Monday that security alerts were issued on threats to people’s lives and that relevant institutions were taking precautionary measures for public safety.

His remarks came days after the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) was informed that there were threat alerts in some parts of the country.

During an interaction with journalists in Islamabad, the information minister said that general elections, in the past, were successfully conducted despite security issues in the country and there was no problem in conducting the upcoming general elections.

The minister, citing the examples of the 2008 and 2013 elections, said that despite serious security problems these elections were held in the country.

He urged the people to have faith in Allah and the capabilities of the security agencies and assured the general elections would be held on February 8.

Last week, Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja — in a meeting to review the law and order and security situation at the ECP — ordered ensuring the security of leaders and voters of all political parties.

The electoral body’s chief also directed relevant authorities and officials to strictly follow the election code of conduct, stressing that it was the responsibility of the administration and law enforcement agencies to ensure timely administrative and security arrangements for the peaceful, safe, and successful conduct of polls.

The meeting was told that there were threat alerts in some parts of the country, but no stone would be left unturned to hold peaceful elections and that arrangements for the installation of closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras at all sensitive polling stations were also complete.

With concerns in mind due to the security situation, the Senate approved a non-binding resolution seeking to delay the February 8 polls.

However, major political parties, including the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) — currently out of the electoral process — have been strongly opposing any bid to delay the polls.

On January 20, brushing aside speculations, former prime minister Shehbaz Sharif announced that the PML-N would oppose with full force attempts to postpone the February 8 general elections.

PML-N President Shehbaz stressed that the time has arrived to enter the election phase at any cost, adding that any delay in the polls would be disastrous for Pakistan and democracy.

Likewise, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said that the polls would be held on February 8 as per schedule even if “they” get resolutions passed from the United Nations (UN) or the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

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