General elections in Pakistan to take place on February 8

The PTI party of jailed former prime minister Imran Khan had announced that it was backing the slain candidate for the National Assembly

February 01, 2024 11:49 pm | Updated 11:49 pm IST - Islamabad

A view of campaign posters and flags of political parties along a street, ahead of general elections, in Peshawar, Pakistan on February 1, 2024.

A view of campaign posters and flags of political parties along a street, ahead of general elections, in Peshawar, Pakistan on February 1, 2024. | Photo Credit: Reuters

Despite increasing poll-related violence and security challenges, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikanadar Sultan Raja and Pakistan’s acting interior minister Gohar Ejaz on February 1 dispelled all doubts about holding the general elections on the already announced date of February 8.

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had summoned a meeting on Thursday to discuss the worsening law and order situation in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan. It was attended by the Interior Minister, Secretary of Interior, Chief Secretaries, Inspector Generals of Police from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan, along with representatives from intelligence agencies, according to a statement by the ECP.

“The February 8 election will be held on time. Despite security challenges, the ECP is fully prepared,” the CEC said addressing the meeting, adding that those trying to create disturbance would be tackled with the help of law enforcing agencies, including the army. “In this regard, no leniency will be shown to anyone,” he said.

Mr. Raja expressed concern at the fragile law and order in the two provinces, especially at the attacks on the office of the ECP and political parties, but he announced the electoral process would not be affected by these attacks.

Mr. Ejaz, the acting interior minister, while briefly talking to the media after the security meeting, said that after the recent spate of terrorist attacks in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Balochistan, “There should not be any doubt about elections. No matter what happens.”

“The government will ensure that the elections are held on February 8,” he said in response to a question regarding rumours about a possible delay in the elections in some regions due to security reasons.

The chief secretaries of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan briefed the meeting about the security situation in their provinces and steps taken to confront militancy and helped the people to take part in the elections.

With just a week left for the elections, the country is facing a rising threat of attacks by militant outfits, especially in the two provinces bordering Afghanistan. On Wednesday, unknown gunmen killed Rehan Zeb Khan in the Siddiqabad area of Bajaur district of the violence-infested KP.

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) party of jailed former prime minister Imran Khan had announced that it was backing the slain candidate for the National Assembly.

His killing came a day after four people were killed while six were wounded in a bomb blast at a PTI rally in Balochistan’s Sibi city.

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