Elections can be put off in areas under security threat: PPP’s Abdul Qadir Baloch

ISLAMABAD: PPP leader and former federal minister Abdul Qadir Baloch has suggested postponing elections in areas that are under security threat instead of delaying polls entirely.

Last month, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and President Arif Alvi agreed on February 8, 2024 as the date for polls. The development stirred activities in the camps of most political parties.

However, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Ghulam Ali recently said it was difficult to carry out political activities in parts of KP and Balochistan due to the security situation. Similarly, JUI-F chief Fazlur Rehman also raised questions on the feasibility of holding elections amid a “deteriorating” security situation.

Earlier this week, caretaker Interior Minister Sarfraz Ahmed Bugti, while emphasising the government’s readiness to ensure peaceful general elections, acknowledged the terrorist threats faced by political leaders in the run-up to the polls, highlighting a general threat to political figures, with a specific alert for the JUI-F chief.

In an interview with a private Tv channel on Saturday, PPP’s Baloch said it was more suitable to delay elections in sensitive areas and hold by-polls there later.

“In a country with 236 seats, it is not appropriate to postpone elections for seven to eight seats and derail the democracy,” he stressed.

He stated that Balochistan, just like KP, was also under threat from the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

“Attack by the TTP in Balochistan are way higher than those by Baloch separatists,” the PPP leader said, highlighting that Kalat, Mastung and neighbouring areas were often targeted by the outlawed organisation.

“The threats are imminent and the separatist elements do not believe in parliamentary politics,” Baloch stated, adding that these elements were hindering election campaigns in the province.

The PPP leader also said that Bugti should not have openly announced the threats to Fazl on media and instead could have communicated the same to the JUI-F leader in directly.

Baloch further stated that the government, being aware of the threats, should take action to protect politicians in the country and fulfil its responsibility.

It must be noted that Pakistan has witnessed an uptick in terror activities in recent months, especially in KP and Balochistan, after the TTP ended its ceasefire with the government in November last year.

According to data released by the Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies (PICSS), the country experienced 34 per cent increase in anti-state violence last month.

A policeman was martyred in a bomb blast in Balochistan’s Khuzdar today. Earlier this week, six people, including four children, were wounded in an IED explosion in a busy locality in Peshawar.

 

 

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