ISLAMABAD: Caretaker Information Minister Murtaza Solangi on Wednesday ruled out the postponement of general elections scheduled for Feb 8 on the pretext of law and order situation.

“The law and order situation during general elections in 2008 and 2013 was worse than the present situation, but the polls were held,” he told reporters after meeting Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) member from Sindh, Nisar Ahmed Durrani, who heads the bench that charge-sheeted PTI founding chairman Imran Khan in the Toshakhana case.

Addressing a question about a resolution passed by the quorum-less Senate seeking the postponement of elections due to security concerns and inclement weather conditions, Mr Solangi said the House had the right to pass a resolution.

When asked if he discussed the resolution, which was sent to the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs, with the caretaker prime minister, he said the caretaker government had nothing to do with it.

Solangi says caretaker govt has nothing to do with election delay resolution passed by Senate

Responding to a question about lacklustre electioneering, he said that the electoral campaign will gain momentum after announcement of the final list of contesting candidates. He said all political parties were about to start their campaigns and the activity will gain more momentum in the days to come. The PML-N has scheduled a rally for Jan 15, he added.

Regarding internet outage on the days PTI announced online events, Mr Solangi said that these technical problems had occurred in the past as well. “The reasons were technical and had nothing to do with politics,” he claimed, and advised reporters to contact the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) for more details.

He also advised the media to contact the Foreign Office and the ECP to get details about foreign observers coming to Pakistan to monitor elections.

In response to a question about the purpose of his visit to the commission, mere hours after the Peshawar High Court restored the election symbol of PTI, he stated that he had been in touch with the Election Commission since the first meeting of the caretaker cabinet and this visit was a part of these contacts.

Published in Dawn, January 11th, 2024

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