PPP and JI - the two rivals in Karachi - question blocking communications on polling day

PPP and JI - the two rivals in Karachi - question blocking communications on polling day


Saeed Ghani says the move can’t be justified; Naeemur Rehman says it’s pre-poll rigging

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KARACHI (Web Desk/Dunya TV) – The PPP and the JI on Thursday blasted the government over suspending the mobile phone and internet service across the country at a time when millions of people are supposed to reach polling stations for casting ballot.

Later in the day, not only the PPP and the JI but also the PTI separately wrote letters to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to demand restoration of the services, saying the move would help make the polls free, fair and transparent.

PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari led the criticism by demanding immediate restoration of the service, the move is causing great hardships not only to the political parties and candidates but also voters.

“I have directed the party to approach the courts and the ECP” to get the decision reversed, Bilawal said in a statement.

Earlier, PPP Election Cell In-charge Raj Haider urged the party workers to exercise their right to vote to make Bilawal Bhutto Zardari the next prime minister.

Read more: Mobile phone, internet service suspended amid terrorism threats

There is no justification for blocking the mobile phone and internet service on the polling day, said Haider who added that other strict measures could have been adopted for ensuring blanket security.

Similarly, Saeed Ghani demanded the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to get the service restored, saying the move would raise many questions about the elections.

The security agencies are responsible for keeping an eye on the law and order situation, he said and noted that making the whole electoral process controversial by suspending the communication services wasn’t justified.

No one can contact each other if anything happens at a polling station, Ghani said as the JI (Jamaat-i-Islami) joined the PPP in censuring the government.

Read more: Won't issue any directives about internet service: CEC

What sort of polls does the ECP wants, Hafiz Naeemur Rehman questioned and declared the decision as pre-poll rigging. “We will protect our vote after the polling,” he vowed.

Describing the JI as the only option, the party’s Karachi chapter chief claimed that they were leading the polls in 12 to 13 National Assembly constituencies of the megacity.

The JI is the most popular party in the urban centres of Sindh, Naeemur Rehman said, adding that his party would secure a heavy mandate.

Similar views were expressed by PPP’s Nisar Khuhro who said they would not tolerate robbing the people’s mandate and urged the caretaker government as well as the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to immediately order restoring the mobile phone and internet service.

“People are facing severe hardships,” he noted.