Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam's (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman Tuesday expressed concerns about the "uncertain" security situation in some parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, wondering if the general elections — slated for February 8 — could be staged safely.
"There is no police in Dera Ismail Khan, Tank, and Lakki Marwat. Can the polls be staged in this situation of unrest," the senior politician wondered while addressing a press conference in Islamabad on Tuesday.
At a JUI-F rally in July, at least 46 people were killed and over 100 injured when a suicide bomber set off explosives in Bajaur, a former tribal area bordering Afghanistan.
Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies (PICSS) data showed that the country saw a notable surge in militant activities in November as the attacks rose by 34% following a two-month decline.
A total of 63 attacks took place which resulted in 83 fatalities, including 37 security forces personnel and 33 civilians.
However, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) started the procedure to hold the polls on February 8, 2024, and also sought the help of the Pakistan Army to ensure the security situation.
In the presser, Fazl said that two provinces — Balochistan and KP — are currently in a state of turmoil and called for the creation of uniform circumstances in the country.
Fazl also questioned the possibility of a successful political campaign in these circumstances. He, however, clarified that his remarks don't mean that the party wants deferral of the polls.
As Pakistan is set to stage the general elections next year on February 8, Fazl said that his party is ever ready to contest in the polls. He reiterated his demand for a "peaceful environment" for the polls.
The JUI-F chief said that an electoral alliance has been made with Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) for seat adjustments in the polls.
Sharing the details of the alliance, Fazl said that committees have been formed. "We will cooperate in KP and PML-N will cooperate in Punjab," he added.
He further stated that JUI-F has led a campaign alongside PML-N and it wants to maintain the ties with Nawaz Sharif-led party.
Speaking about the intra-party elections of his political rival Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Fazl said that the polls revealed that "it is not a party".
"Those who change their loyalties were forcefully included in PTI," he added.