ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has received a host of applications, seeking postponement of the upcoming general elections scheduled for February 8, 2023.
Citing security concerns and adverse weather conditions, the petitioners argue that holding elections under such circumstances would hinder voter participation and compromise fairness of the electoral process.
With mounting pressure from concerned citizens and legal representatives, the ECP has agreed to consider the postponement requests. The commission is expected to conduct hearings to evaluate the merits of each petition and make a final decision on the fate of the general elections.
Advocate Azizuddin Kakakhil, representing citizen Shakir Khan of Kohlu, submitted a petition to the ECP, highlighting the precarious law and order situation in the region. With the Frontier Corps (FC) responsible for maintaining security, redeployed to border areas, concerns over terrorist activities have heightened.
The petition cites the disruption of the February 2023 municipal elections due to terrorism and fears similar disturbances during the general elections.
The petition underscores the inadequacy of Levies forces in deterring terrorist movements. It also draws attention to the distribution of pamphlets by terrorists in Tehsil Khan aimed at obstructing the election process. Additionally, it emphasizes the impending heavy snowfall across most districts and divisions in February, further impeding access to polling stations for voters.
In a separate petition, Advocate Fatima Nazr contends that the escalating security situation in Balochistan renders it unsuitable for holding general elections. The petition details a surge in terrorist incidents, including targeted killings, IED blasts, and suicide attacks, particularly in Makran Division. This atmosphere of fear and threat, coupled with logistical challenges posed by poor transportation infrastructure, casts doubt on the feasibility of conducting fair and inclusive elections.