ISLAMABAD: Concerns were expressed since the security situation in the provinces of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan is still dangerous. However, acting interior minister Gohar Ejaz declared on Thursday that general elections would take place on February 8 regardless of what happens. The interim minister informed the media following the meeting of the electoral committee, “Elections will be held on February 8, no one should have any confusion on this.”
In any case, he said, the caretaker administration and electoral commission will ensure the polls are conducted on the scheduled day. Just a few days before the general elections, the ECP held a crucial meeting at its Islamabad headquarters to address the worsening state of law and order in KP and Balochistan. Recent weeks have seen an increase in attacks on political gatherings, offices, and candidates; these attacks, along with terror acts, have mostly been reported from the two provinces.
The interim interior minister, Interior Secretary Aftab Durrani, intelligence officers, and the IGs and chief secretaries of both provinces attended the meeting to brief ECP on the state of law and order. According to ECP-affiliated sources, the situation is under control and there are no concerns about how the elections will be conducted after the meeting. Many bombings were recorded in various parts of Balochistan, including the province capital Quetta, on Thursday, resulting in at least one fatality and four injuries, as per police reports.
The violence that characterized Wednesday’s electioneering activities and the spate of terrorist strikes that shook several Balochistan cities have only made the situation in the region worse. In a statement released today (Thursday), an ECP spokeswoman stated that the electoral board has requested an urgent report from the chief secretary and the head of the Balochistan police on several explosions that occurred in the province.
Concurrently, Rehan Zeb Khan, an independent contender for NA-8 and a part of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) was fatally murdered during his campaigning in the Bajaur area of KP. Four persons were killed on Tuesday in a bombing at the PTI’s election rally in Sibbi, in a separate incident. In a statement denouncing the hack, the US stated that it “undermines the electoral process.”