This week, Pakistan’s Caretaker Information Minister Murtaza Solangi clarified that the government hasn’t issued any directives to suspend mobile or internet services on polling day, as reported by state media on Tuesday.
Despite a surge in pre-election violence, especially in regions like Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan, where provincial Information Minister Jan Achakzai mentioned potential restrictions on internet access in certain areas, the central government in Islamabad hasn’t mandated such measures. Solangi emphasized that any decision regarding law and order during polling will be taken by local administrations as needed.
Encouraging citizens to responsibly exercise their voting rights, Solangi emphasized the importance of democratic continuity and patriotism. Despite security challenges and allegations of pre-poll rigging, particularly involving the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party led by imprisoned former Prime Minister Imran Khan, the government reaffirmed the commitment to hold the elections as scheduled on February 8.
Imran Khan, currently incarcerated on corruption charges, alleges that the campaign against him was orchestrated by the caretaker government and the military to prevent his return to power after his ouster in a no-trust vote in April 2022. However, both the military and the caretaker government have refuted these claims, asserting impartiality in the electoral process.
Beyond the political turmoil, the incoming government will grapple with severe economic challenges, including dwindling foreign exchange reserves, currency depreciation against the US dollar, and soaring inflation.