December 4, 2023
ISLAMABAD – As the country heads towards general elections on February 8, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Ghulam Ali has said it is difficult to carry out political activities in parts of KP and Balochistan due to the security situation.
Pakistan has witnessed an uptick in terror activities in recent months, especially in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan, after the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan 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.
It revealed that KP emerged as the most affected province, documenting 51 attacks, causing 54 fatalities and 81 injuries. Meanwhile, Balochistan recorded nine attacks, resulting in 18 fatalities, including that of 15 security forces personnel and three civilians.
In an interview on Dawn News programme ‘Doosra Rukh’ on Saturday, Governor Ghulam was asked if the current security situation was unfavourable for political parties to hold rallies in the province.
“There is no doubt that the situation in some areas such as Tank, Dera Ismail Khan, Lakki Marwat and Bannu is not good,” he replied. A similar situation persists in Balochistan as well, Ghulam said.
He said general elections in the aforementioned areas may be held but reiterated that it was difficult to carry out political activities there.
“The government and state institutions will make efforts because elections should be peaceful,” the governor stated, stressing that it was the government’s duty to take the voter to the ballot box safely.
When asked if Ghulam had put the situation in front of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), he replied that the provincial government was responsible for doing the same.
“Some incidents have taken place recently […] every day our jawans are being martyred, but thankfully a big incident has not taken place yet.
“The provincial government and institutions are responsible for sitting together and preparing a strategy for the way forward,” the KP governor said, adding that Pakistan should swiftly move towards polls while keeping the political and economic situation in view.
Talking about the PTI’s claims regarding the lack of a level-playing field, Ghulam said the party’s objections were not valid and pointed out that it had recently held a number of rallies in KP.
“It is not good for anyone to make the election process suspicious,” he added.
At a workers’ convention in Swabi on Saturday, PTI workers had alleged that the KP government had adopted a discriminatory policy against the party in flagrant violation of the Constitution.
PTI Vice President Sher Afzal Marwat had said that while all other parties were allowed to run the election campaign, hurdles were created for PTI, crippling its campaign.