Voting began at 8 a.m. local time and ended at 5 p.m. Mobile phone and data services were cut off across the country before voting began, making it difficult for voters to find polling places. Pakistan has also suspended phone and internet services in the past to control the flow of information, but this type of shutdown is unprecedented. , especially during elections.
An Interior Ministry spokesperson said the step was necessary in light of recent terrorist attacks in Pakistan. “Precious lives were lost as a result of recent terrorist incidents in the country. Security measures are essential to maintain law and order situation and deal with potential threats,” the spokesperson said. . On the day before the election, more than 30 people were killed in three bombings, two in southwestern Balochistan and one in Karachi, Sindh.
Global internet watchdog group NetBlocks said the election day internet outage in Pakistan was one of the largest ever observed in any country in terms of severity and scope. “This practice is inherently undemocratic and is known to limit the activities of independent election observers and cause fraud in the voting process,” NetBlocs Director Alp Tokar said in a statement. . Amnesty International said the suspension of mobile and internet services was a “blatant attack on the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly”.
President Imran’s PTI called the suspension of mobile services a “serious attack on democracy” and a despicable attempt by those in power to “suppress dissent, manipulate election results and violate the rights of the people of Pakistan.” he accused.
Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said border crossings with Afghanistan and Iran were closed to both cargo and pedestrian traffic to ensure complete security during the vote. Approximately 650,000 security personnel, including police, paramilitary forces, and the military, were deployed to ensure a peaceful electoral process.
At least 11 people were killed across the country during the voting, including two children and nine security officials. Four police officers were attacked and killed while on patrol in Dera Ismail Khan district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. Two paramilitary personnel and a police officer were killed when they ran over a landmine while on their way to a polling station in Kalan district, Balochistan province.
Critics and analysts have already described the poll as the least reliable in the country’s history, saying the entire exercise was orchestrated by the powerful military to keep Mr. Imran and his party from power. It has said. Imran has been disqualified from electoral procedures for 10 years, while his party has been stripped of its cricket bat election symbol.
In the run-up to the polls, Mr Khan has been sentenced to prison terms in at least three different cases, while his arch-rival Nawaz Sharif, a three-time former prime minister who was previously imprisoned and has since gone into exile. has returned and emerged as a strong candidate. Also.
Speaking after voting this morning, Nawaz said he was confident that his party, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), would win the election with a majority. Sharif dismissed his suggestion that the party might need to form a coalition government to govern. “Please, please don’t mention the coalition government,” he told reporters in Lahore. He even suggested that he’s thinking about which posts go to whom. “Once this election is over, we will sit down and decide who will be the chief minister and who will be the CM of Punjab,” Nawaz said. If no party can win a simple majority, the first-place party must form a coalition.
Internet is cut off in Pakistan as voting begins across the country
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