Govt asserts neutrality, dismissing allegations

ISLAMABAD:(PEN) :Denying allegations of state-sponsored rigging, caretaker Interior Minister Gohar Ijaz on Friday asserted the government had maintained neutrality throughout the election process, adding the election results attested to the fact.

“Had the government acted with mala fide intent, the results would not have been as they are,” Ijaz, who was flanked by Information Minister Murtaza Solangi, said during a press conference.

Ijaz expressed confidence in the decisions made for the betterment of the public. “We knew there would be criticism over the internet and mobile phone shutdown,” acknowledged Ijaz, underlining the importance of prioritising human lives.

The interior minister, while discussing security challenges faced by the interim government during the general elections, stated on Friday that 56 incidents were reported on election day despite the suspension of mobile services. “The decision to shut down mobile services was made at a high-level security meeting.”

He revealed that the “emergency decisions” were made due to the “martyrdom of 28 individuals” a day earlier to the elections. The mobile services were suspended because the terror attack was “not a suicide attack, but a device bomb attached to a motorcycle”.

The minister highlighted the necessity of such measures for the protection of human lives, stating: “These actions were crucial for ensuring the safety of individuals.” Furthermore, he reported that “there were 56 incidents on the day of the election, and there were intelligence reports of terrorist incidents taking place.”

Eijaz said that “February 8 was a challenging day” as he referenced the terrorist incidents of February 7 in which 26 people were martyred. In light of the Qilla Saifullah incident, he said, “We decided to close mobile signals” in a high-level meeting.