Pakistan has decided to close its borders with neighboring Afghanistan and Iran on February 8, coinciding with the general elections, in a bid to enhance security measures during the polling process. The announcement, communicated by the Foreign Office (FO) on Wednesday, outlined the temporary closure of border crossings for both cargo and pedestrians. Mumtaz Zahra Baloch, the FO spokesperson, emphasized the necessity of this action to ensure comprehensive security during the elections, with normal operations set to resume on February 9.
Authorities have duly informed Afghanistan and Iran of Pakistan’s decision regarding the border closure. This move comes against the backdrop of recent tensions and sporadic closures at key border crossings, particularly Torkham and Chaman, owing to strained relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Despite such strains, the border with Iran had remained open, even during recent missile exchanges between the two nations.
Rising number of attacks as elections approached nearer
The decision to seal the borders underscores the gravity of security concerns as Pakistan braces for a significant electoral event. With an estimated 128 million voters expected to participate, the closure aims to mitigate potential security risks amid heightened tensions. This decision was further motivated by the unfortunate occurrence of two bomb blasts earlier on the same day, resulting in the loss of 27 lives in Balochsitan.
In response to security threats, Pakistani security forces have intensified intelligence-based operations in provinces such as Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, particularly in regions bordering Afghanistan and Iran. Despite security challenges, the Election Commission of Pakistan affirmed the scheduled date for the general elections following deliberations earlier this month. However, concerns persist regarding possible disruptions during the polling process, with authorities acknowledging the vulnerability of polling stations and the security personnel stationed there. Nonetheless, authorities express confidence in their ability to safeguard the democratic process against any attempts to disrupt or undermine it.