Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman has said that he does not see the February 8 elections being staged as the country’s security situation is not suitable for polls — almost 24 hours after vehicles, part of his convoy in Dera Ismail Khan, came under attack.
The veteran politician’s convoy was fired upon from multiple sides at Yarik interchange, the party said, but also added that fortunately, the JUI-F emir was not present in the vehicles at the time.
Fazl has been constantly calling on the interim government and the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to ensure the law and order situation and also stressed that it wasn’t the right time to be holding the polls.
“The incident yesterday [Sunday] raises questions on the security situatiuon,” the former parliamentarian told a press conference in DI Khan on Monday, adding, “It won’t be a big issue If elections are delayed for a few days.”
In response to Fazl’s repeated demands of pushing the elections forward, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) spokesperson Faisal Karim Kundi had said that the JUI-F chief was seeking to “run away” from the polls.
Fazl, during the press conference, said that his party’s leadership had also come under attack in Waziristan and Tank, adding that he has raised concerns about the security in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).
Pakistan remained a theatre of terrorism and violence in the year 2023 amid internal political conflicts, socioeconomic disparities, regional instability and rising tensions with the militant groups operating in border areas adjacent to Afghanistan.
“How can we run our election campaign in such conditions? I’ve asked the election commissioner to consider my request [of delaying polls], but he says that he’s praying,” the JUI-F emir said.
No major political party has been calling for the delay of elections, except for the JUI-F. The PPP and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) have been holding rallies and are set to announce their manifestos as well.
However, this time around, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) is not in a good position as several of its top leaders — including founder Imran Khan and Vice-Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi — had their nomination papers rejected and they also remain jail.
The elections will take place on February 8, in which seats from the national and provincial assemblies will be up for grabs, and the ECP has said that it has fulfilled all prerequisites for staging the massive exercise.