Pakistan set for free and fair polls, there is no political victimisation: Solangi

ISLAMABAD (PEN) : Caretaker Information Minister Murtaza Solangi on Saturday rubbished the claims about the PTI facing political victimisation, saying Pakistan is a free country and everyone has a right to criticise.

“The courts are independent. We do not control them,” said Solangi when asked about a series of verdicts announced the PTI founding chairman and rejected the allegations of “kidnapping” the PTI candidates.

Citing Pakistan as the fifth largest democracy in the world, he said arrangements had been finalised for holding free and fair elections on February 8 as the caretaker government was using all the available means to achieve the purpose.

Terrorists were using Afghanistan as a base to carry out attacks in Pakistan, he mentioned, noting that the al Qaeda and TTP (Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan) were currently housed in Afghanistan.

Pakistan witnessed a sharp rise in terrorism acts after the Kabul takeover by the Taliban in 2021, the minister said, as the government has already repeatedly mentioned that the PTI government’s disastrous move to go for peace talks with the TTP enabled them to relocate to the country’s erstwhile tribal region.

Solangi recalled how terrorism had affected the general elections in 2008 and 2013. The statement comes as the period said saw the terrorists targeted the political parties, especially the ANP which lost hundreds of workers before the 2013, crippling their ability to launch effective election campaign and helping the PTI grab the power in the province.

Elaborating the arrangements made for the February 8 elections while keeping in mind the recent challenges, the minister said a three-layer security provided to the political parties, candidates and voters on the polling day – in the sequence of police, Rangers and other paramilitary forces, and army.