Interim Interior Minister Sarfraz Ahmad Bugti on Tuesday said the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) would be given full security needed to hold the upcoming general elections in a peaceful environment.

The general elections in the country are scheduled for February 8. A day ago, the ECP sought the deployment of the army and civil armed forces outside polling stations for the elections to meet the shortfall of over 277,000 police personnel across the country.

Speaking with Dunya News show Nukta Nazar, the interior minister assured that the caretaker government would take the necessary measures to provide all required facilities to the ECP for transparently conducting the general elections.

“Political parties should cooperate with law enforcement agencies (LEAs), before arranging any public meeting or corner meeting for election campaign,” he said.

Bugti said timely information about public gatherings or meetings would help security institutions for making better arrangements for them.

Commenting on the rising terrorism incidents in different parts of the country, he said LEAs were “fully” alert to control the menace of terrorism.

The interior minister the country’s enemies were trying to sabotage the peaceful environment of Pakistan.

Bugti said security institutions were taking all possible steps to defeat terrorism in a “befitting manner”.

Earlier today, at least six people, including four children, were injured in an improvised explosive device blast on Peshawar’s Warsak Road.

Pakistan has witnessed an uptick in terror activities in recent months, especially in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan after the banned militant Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan had ended its ceasefire with the government in November last year.

According to data released by the Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies, the country experienced a 34 per cent increase in anti-state violence last month.

It had revealed that KP emerged as the most affected province, documenting 51 attacks, causing 54 fatalities and 81 injuries.

Meanwhile, Balochistan had recorded nine attacks, resulting in 18 fatalities, including that of 15 security forces personnel and three civilians.

Rehman casts doubt over polls citing ‘unrest’ in KP, Balochistan

Meanwhile, Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam Fazl (JUI) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman said KP and Balochistan were subject to “unrest” as security threats loomed over the country and cast doubt over the feasibility of the upcoming general elections.

Speaking to the media in Islamabad, he said: “We should be given the environment [for election campaign]. What is the situation right now? Two provinces are in the grip of unrest.”

He said three JUI members were killed in Nowshera on Sunday, adding that incidents also took place in Peshawar. He further said four to five more JUI members were martyred in Bajaur after July’s suicide blast at a JUI-F workers’ convention

“There is no police in Dera Ismail Khan, Tank and Lakki Marwat,” Rehman alleged. “Throughout the night these areas are under the control of [unidentified] armed men and police are only present in the morning.”

The JUI-F chief asked the people present if election campaigning could be carried out in the prevailing situation, saying that a peaceful environment was required. “Apart from that the weather will also be cold,” the Maulana said.

Clarifying today that he did not seek a delay in the elections, Rehman pleaded with the government to at least provide a conducive environment for elections.

“I am ready [for polls] but give us an election environment … The situation is good in Bahawalpur and Multan but come towards our side. If you are my guest, I won’t let you leave the house after dusk,” he chuckled.

In reply to a question, the JUI-F chief said his party maintained cordial relations with the PML-N, adding “We want to maintain that for the elections and even after that.”

He disclosed that the PML-N and JUI-F have also formed committees in KP and Punjab regarding seat adjustment — a possibility also open in other provinces.

“In other provinces too, we will do electoral [seat] adjustment,” he said. “We are in the mood to call each other our coalition partners.”

For the PPP, however, he said no such contact was made regarding the elections.

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