56 incidents were recorded on election day despite the suspension of mobile communications, Interior Minister Dr. Gohar Ejaz said on Friday when speaking about the security difficulties the interim government experienced during the general elections.
Along with acting Information Minister Murtaza Solangi, Ejaz issued an additional announcement at a news conference: “A high-level security meeting decided to shut down mobile services.”
He revealed that the logic behind the “emergency decisions” was the “martyrdom of 28 individuals” which took place one day before the polls. Because the terror act was “not a suicide attack, but a device bomb attached to a motorcycle,” the mobile services were forced to shut down.
The minister emphasized that such efforts were vital for safeguarding human lives, saying, “These actions were crucial for ensuring the safety of individuals.” In addition, he stated that “there were 56 incidents on the day of the election, and there were intelligence reports of terrorist incidents taking place.”
Referring to the terrorist attacks on February 7 that resulted in the deaths of 26 persons, Eijaz remarked that “February 8 was a challenging day.” At a high-level meeting, he declared, “We decided to close mobile signals” in response to the Qilla Saifullah incident.
“It was not an easy decision to close mobile signals,” he stated, recognizing the hardship of the choice and justifying it with the argument that it was made to “secure lives.”
“Shouldn’t we be proud of our security forces?” he asked, expressing pride in the security forces.
The minister went on to say, “56 incidents occurred despite mobile signals being off, in which the Pakistan Army and police personnel were martyred.” He added, “We have to protect lives as the sitting government.”
The acting minister offered regrets for the security people who lost their lives, saying, “We salute the Pakistani forces’ personnel who gave their lives yesterday.” “All institutions worked together to conduct a peaceful election,” he said in conclusion. Many enemies have assaulted us. Here before you is the outcome of the election. It is the nation’s voice.”
Information Minister Murtaza Solangi said, “As per our commitment, the caretaker government conducted elections, and the process of receiving results is ongoing.”
Solangi stated, “We the voters of Pakistan should choose the future ruler.” He also underlined how “peaceful” the election was overall and how the caretaker government was committed to making sure that voting was peaceful.
Suspended cellular services
A day earlier, during the voting process, internet and mobile phone services were taken down nationwide in Pakistan; the authorities described the action as “preserving law and order” in the wake of the previous day’s violence.
However, researchers and political stakeholders, including the PTI, a political party that primarily relied on social media platforms for its electoral campaign, decried the suspension, calling it a “reckless attack on people’s rights.”
“Mobile services across the nation have been decided to be temporarily suspended,” a spokesman for the interior ministry said in a statement.
The spokesperson went on to say that “security measures are essential to maintain law and order situation and to deal with potential threats” and that “precious lives have been lost” in recent militant attacks in the whole country.