ISLAMABAD: Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja has said all measures would be taken to ensure the peaceful conduct of elections and urged political parties to continue canvassing without any fear.
According to a statement released by the Election Commission of Pakistan, CEC Raja termed terrorism the “biggest enemy” of the electoral process. But at the same time, he expressed full confidence in law enforcement agencies.
He also urged the LEAs to remain alert for any potential law and order situation during the counting of votes and announcement of results.
The Election Commission assured that the electoral process in the country will not stop and the February 8 general elections will take place on time despite the presence of security challenges in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan provinces.
With just a week left in the February 8 polls, election preparations and campaigns go on in full swing but the country is reeling from consecutive incidents of violence which resulted in multiple deaths, especially on political parties’ rallies in the two provinces, which are generally the most affected by the menace of terrorism.
Security across the country has been heightened with the deployment of law enforcers to ensure the law and order situation in the wake of national-level polls.
Expressing the resolve and readiness to conduct the upcoming polls on the designated date, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja said that the election commission is fully ready to hold the elections.
“The February 8 polls will take place on time. Though the security challenges exist but the election commission is fully ready [to hold the elections], and with the help of Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) and Pakistan Army, the elements involved in hindering the electoral process and disrupting security situation will be dealt strictly,” he said during the ECP’s security meeting.
No leniency will be shown towards anyone, the CEC added.
With a deteriorating law and order situation just days ahead of the general elections, a key meeting of the top electoral body took place in Islamabad to discuss the situation in the two provinces, this evening.
A statement, released by the ECP after the meeting ended, stated that the CEC expressed concerns about the deteriorating security situation in KP and Balochistan but stressed that the electoral process won’t stop despite the challenges.
Raja declared terrorism as the biggest enemy of the electoral process and expressed confidence in the LEAs for making all necessary security arrangements for peaceful conduct of polls and provision of a secure environment to both, the candidates and voters in exercising their right to self-determination.
He also warned the LEAs to stay cautious of the efforts to take law in hands during the day of polls, especially during the counting of votes and results compilation and announcement.
The meeting was attended by caretaker Interior Minister Gohar Ejaz, Interior Secretary Aftab Durrani, intelligence officials, chief secretaries and police chiefs of Balochistan and KP as well as senior members of the ECP.
The officials informed the CEC about the significant measures taken across the country especially in KP and Balochistan for ensuring the security and peaceful conduct of elections.
Officials from Balochistan stated that the provincial administration and security institutions are fully alert and ready to deal with possible incidents of terrorism.