• Saturday, February 24, 2024


Pakistan: Caretaker PM lauds voters even as violence, internet outage hit polling

Anwaar ul Haque Kakar also commended the security personnel, civil administration and the Election Commission of Pakistan for conducting ‘free and fair elections’.

Pakistan’s caretaker prime minister Anwar-ul-Haq Kakar (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

By: Shubham Ghosh

PAKISTAN’S caretaker prime minister Anwaar-ul-Haque Kakar on Thursday (80 lauded the “participation and enthusiasm” of people as the cornerstone of democratic exercise and said the voter turnout in the general elections in his country is a “clear indication of public commitment”.

He said this on a day when incidents of violence, including attacks on security personnel in which 10 of them were killed in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Balochistan provinces, and suspension of mobile and internet services marred the key election to decide who will govern the country, plagued by several problems, in the days ahead. Many were also injured. There were allegations of electoral fraud and harassment of candidates as well.

The army said there were at least 51 instances of terror attacks aimed at disrupting the polling. Five terrorists were also nullified during various operations, according to a statement it released.

“Despite 51 cowardly terrorist attacks, mostly in KP and Balochistan, aimed at disrupting the electoral process, the soldiers remained resolute and effectively ensured peace and security across Pakistan. Twelve people (including 10 personnel of security forces and law enforcement agencies) died and 39 others have been injured in these attacks,” the army statement said.

Four of the security personnel were martyred in KP’s Dera Ismail Khan district when an attack took place on a police patrol. Two others were killed Kharan in Balchistan where two separate explosions on the eve of the election left nearly 30 people dead and many injured. One official told Dawn.com that the incident happened when a vehicle hit a landmine while heading for a polling station.

Read: No clear winner likely as Pakistan holds election suspending mobile services, shutting borders

Seven other personnel were also injured in the attack and those in critical condition were moved to Quetta, the capital of Balochistan.

Read: Decoding Pakistan’s challenging national election of February 8

Kakar commended the security personnel, civil administration and the Election Commission of Pakistan for conducting “free and fair elections”.

Amid the deployment of 650,000 security personnel, voting that started at 8 am local time, concluded at 5 pm for an approximately 128 million registered voters to cast their ballots. People came out in large numbers to vote in a country ridden with economic crisis, encouraging the caretaker PM calling it as a “momentous occasion” and said it is not just a testament to the “resilience and strength of our democratic processes” but also to the “indomitable spirit” of the Pakistani people.

“The participation and enthusiasm of the people of Pakistan have been the cornerstone of this democratic exercise. The high voter turnout is a clear indication of public commitment to shaping the future of our country. The voices, expressed through the votes, will contribute to the fortification of our democracy, and for that, the people of Pakistan deserve every bit of appreciation,” Kakar said in a post on X.

Lauding the security personnel, civilian authorities and the poll officials, he said, “Their unwavering commitment to their duties has been instrumental in the smooth conduct of the elections.”

He ended his longish post on X with: “May this election be a harbinger of a brighter, more prosperous future for Pakistan.”

Counting of the votes was meanwhile underway and a clear picture of the results is expected to emerge on Friday (9).

(With PTI inputs)

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