Security issues: Fazl doubts elections on Feb 8

DERA ISMAEL KHAN  -  Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Mau­lana Fazlur Rehman yesterday said that he does not see conduct of the February 8 elec­tions as the country’s security situation is not suitable for polls.

His remarks came after the veteran poli­tician’s convoy was fired upon from mul­tiple sides at Yarik In­terchange the other day. However, fortunately, the JUI-F chief was not present in the vehicles at the time. Fazl has been constantly calling on the interim government and the Election Commis­sion of Pakistan (ECP) to ensure the law and order situation and also stressed that it wasn’t the right time to be hold­ing the polls. “The incident raises questions on the se­curity situation,” the former parliamentarian told a press conference in DI Khan, add­ing, “It won’t be a big issue if elections are delayed for a few days.” In response to Fazl’s repeated demands of pushing the elections for­ward, Pakistan People’s Par­ty (PPP) spokesperson Fais­al Karim Kundi had said that the JUI-F chief was seeking to “run away” from the polls. Fazl, during the press con­ference, said that his party’s leadership had also come under attack in Waziristan and Tank, adding that he has raised concerns about the security in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP). Pakistan remained a theatre of terrorism and violence in the year 2023 amid in­ternal political conflicts, so­cioeconomic disparities, re­gional instability and rising tensions with the militant groups operating in border areas adjacent to Afghani­stan. “How can we run our election campaign in such conditions? I’ve asked the Chief Election Commission­er to consider my request [of delaying polls], but he says that he’s praying,” the JUI-F chief said. No major political party has been call­ing for the delay of elections, except for the JUI-F. The PPP and the Pakistan Mus­lim League-Nawaz (PML-N) have been holding rallies and are set to announce their manifestos as well.

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