In an unprecedented move, Pakistan’s Federal Interior Ministry suspended mobile phone and internet services nationwide on February 8, 2024. This sweeping blackout, enforced on the day of the general elections, is a response to a spate of recent terror attacks and a bid to maintain law and order during the electoral process. This drastic measure has cast a long shadow on the country’s electoral processes, specifically impacting the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) 8300 SMS service.
Security Concerns Overshadow Electoral Process
Just days before the election, a grenade blast in Karachi’s Gulshan-e-Iqbal area resulted in three fatalities and two injuries. This act of terror, allegedly committed by a teenager – the son of a police officer, heightened the already simmering security concerns. In the wake of these events, the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja has directed police chiefs and chief secretaries across all provinces to be on high alert for potential terror attacks.
Internet Blackout and Its Impact on the Election
The internet and mobile services suspension, implemented as a security measure, has far-reaching implications. The blackout has affected the ECP’s 8300 SMS service, which plays a crucial role in the electoral processes. This disruption threatens to compromise the efficiency of the electoral process and raises concerns about the potential for miscommunication and misinformation.
Political Landscape Amid the Elections
As the fifth-largest democracy in the world, Pakistan is witnessing a significant turnout for its 12th general elections. A total of 44 political parties, including PML-N, PPP, MQM-P, JI, JUI-F, TLP, and independent candidates, some backed by PTI, are participating in the elections. Amidst the unfolding chaos, Imran Khan, the founder of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI), faces his own set of challenges, including legal issues and the revocation of PTI’s iconic ‘bat’ symbol.Share on Facebook «||» Share on Twitter «||» Share on Reddit «||» Share on LinkedIn