Caretaker Govt fulfilled pledge to hold peaceful, orderly polls: Solangi

Murtaza Solangi

ISLAMABAD, Feb 9 (APP/DNA): Caretaker Federal Minister for Information, Broadcasting and Parliamentary Affairs Murtaza Solangi on Friday, felicitating nation over the peaceful and orderly conduct of general elections, said the caretaker government had fulfilled the solemn pledge of holding elections in line with time-frame, given by Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

Addressing a press conference along with Caretaker Interior Minister Dr Gohar Ijaz, he said despite speculations and multiple challenges,”we have consistently stood by our stand regarding the conduct of elections”.

Replying to a question, he said there was no shutdown of Internet on election day and added the fixed broadband was functioning and social media platforms were fully used by the subscribers.

He pointed out Internet suspension was not specific to Pakistan since many countries opted for the shutdown of Internet service, simply due to security reasons.

Sharing data, he said that in 2022, the Internet was shut down 187 times in 35 countries of the world and a neighbouring country, with purported democratic credentials, closed Internet service for 84 times.

He said Pakistan had been fighting the longest war against the scourge of terrorism with over hundred thousand martyrdoms.

He said on election day, 16 persons lost their lives in 61 incidents of violence and on the previous day, 28 persons were martyred in two incidents of terrorism.

Solangi said since January 15 this year, there were 47 incidents of terrorism including seven improvised explosive device  blasts and 26 grenade attacks.

Answering a question, the minister said the temporary shutdown of mobile phone service was imperative for protection of people’s lives.

On Thursday, the head of the Commonwealth Observer Group pointed out that when there were no mobile phones and Internet service, even then democracy was in vogue and elections were conducted around the world.

The minister said that ECP SMS service 8300 had been functional since January 29 and most of the voters must have got the required information in advance.

He acknowledged that people had faced some difficulties, but protecting citizens’ lives was the main task and obligation of the security agencies and the Ministry of Interior.

 “It was more important for us to save people’s lives and mobile phone service shut-down was done due to security threats,” Murtaza Solangi remarked.

To a question, he said a large number of independent candidates were elected which was the indication of the fairness of the electoral process.

Principal Information Officer Dr Tariq Mehmood Khan was also present on the occasion.