Friday April 12, 2024

Security concerns: Fazl seeks postponement of polls in Punjab, KP

By News Report
March 06, 2023

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) President and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUIF-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman on Sunday sought the postponement of upcoming elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) in the wake of “deteriorated law and order situation” in the country.

Addressing a press conference, the PDM president said, “Law and order situation in the country is not suitable for elections.”

The general elections in Punjab are scheduled for April 30, while the date for the polls in KP is yet to be announced as Governor Ghulam Ali has not made a decision yet. In the light of the Supreme Court’s split ruling earlier this week, President Arif Alvi announced the date for the Punjab polls after consulting the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP). But the KP governor is yet to “open” the letter that the ECP has sent to his office.

Fazl also said that they believe in holding general elections in the time-frame provided in the Constitution, but in the same breath added: “We have to make decisions in view of the country’s situation.” Referring to alleged rigging in the 2018 elections, he said the Supreme Court took a suo motu notice over the election date of KP and Punjab but a notice should also have been taken on the 2018 polls.

Recalling his party’s long march in 2019 to oust then-prime minister Imran Khan and for fresh elections in the country, the PDM chief questioned, “Why these ears did not hear the voice of 1.5 million people but took a suo motu notice for just four people?”

He also held Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-led government responsible for the economic crisis and ruining the country’s economy. “Today, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is preparing our budget and controlling the prices,” he added.

The president of the ruling PDM alliance said that Rs80 billion were being demanded by relevant authorities for ballot papers at a time when the state was unable to provide bread to the poor.

Talking about the rising terrorism in the country, the JUI-F leader doubted if the police and other institutions could provide security during the election process.

Last month, the Ministry of Defence excused itself from providing security for the KP and Punjab assemblies’ polls and by-elections of 93 National Assembly constituencies.

Maulana Fazl claimed that former Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief Lt Gen (retd) Faiz Hameed and former chief justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar were still lobbying for Khan. He urged the institutions to take notice of the situation and “rein them in”.

Fazl also held Imran Khan responsible for the alleged ideological split in the establishment and institutions.