No decision yet to suspend mobile phone services in Sindh on election day

Ahmed Shah refrains from commenting on attack on PPP candidate, says authorities unaware of those behind incident

A representational image of a mobile phone with no network. — AFP/File
A representational image of a mobile phone with no network. — AFP/File
  • Shah refuses to comment on attack on PPP candidate in Mirpurkhas. 
  • Reiterates govt’s preparedness to tackle any situation post-Feb 8.
  • Warns of anti-state elements’ plot for terror attacks in country.

Caretaker Sindh Minister for Information Ahmed Shah has said that the province’s apex committee has not discussed the issue of prospects of suspension of mobile services in the province as the situation is “under control” ahead of the February 8 election.

Warning that anti-state elements are plotting terrorist attacks in the country, Shah reassured that the government will be prepared to deal with the enemy’s attempt to exploit any situation following the polls.

The minister’s remarks come as the federal government on Tuesday hinted at the possibility of suspension of internet services if it receives a request from a district or province in view of the security situation, caretaker Interior Minister Gohar Ejaz said today.

In a related development earlier in the day, the Sindh High Court (SHC) upheld its January 24 stay order wherein it had directed the authorities to provide uninterrupted internet service including mobile internet service across the country till the February 8 Pakistan election.

On the issue of Monday’s attack on Zulfiqar Ali Shah, a Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) candidate from Mirpurkhas’s PS-46 constituency, near Shaheed Benazir Bhutto bypass, the Sindh information minister said that so far the authorities are unaware of those responsible for the firing incident.

“[We] cannot comment [on incident] until confirmation,” Shah maintained.

The attack comes in the backdrop of a significant surge in terrorist attacks in the country leading to growing fears regarding the deteriorating law and order situation in various parts of the country continue to loom, particularly with regard to KP and Balochistan.

The recent terror wave has seen several independent candidates as well as those from parties, have been targeted by miscreants in the run-up to the polls — forcing the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to even postpone elections on the National Assembly’s NA-8 and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s PK-22 constituencies after election hopeful Rehan Zeb Khan was shot dead within the parameters of the constituencies.

Elaborating on the media coverage of the polls, the minister stressed that media persons are allowed to perform their duties, adding that people who aren’t journalists and those who do not possess relevant credentials will not be allowed to enter polling stations.

“Police and Rangers personnel will not prevent anyone possessing [relevant identity] cards,” he noted.

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