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Business News/ News / World/  Pakistan election 2024: Pak suspends mobile services for election day, cites ‘terrorism’

Pakistan election 2024: Pak suspends mobile services for election day, cites ‘terrorism’

Pakistan suspends mobile phone services nationwide for election day to maintain law and order.

Voters (L) line up outside a polling station as police stand guard during Pakistan's national elections in Islamabad on February 8, 2024. (Photo by Farooq NAEEM / AFP)

Pakistan suspended mobile phone services nationwide Thursday for election day, the interior ministry said, citing the need to “maintain law and order".

"It has been decided to temporarily suspend the mobile service across the country," a ministry spokesman said in a statement.

Meanwhile, voting is underway at all polling stations across Pakistan for the national and provincial assemblies.

Pakistan Elections 2024 LIVE

Furthermore, the caretaker Interior Ministry has established a control room to oversee the general elections' overall situation. This control room comprises representatives from various relevant institutions, including the Interior Department, police, and the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), who are tasked with their respective duties within the control room.

AFP journalists in the capital Islamabad could not access mobile internet services as polls opened at 8:00 am (0300 GMT), while there were also reports of poor access in the southern city of Karachi.

In a post on X, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) said, “Pakistanis, the illegitimate, fascist regime has blocked cell phone services across Pakistan on polling day. You are all requested to counter this cowardly act by removing passwords from your personal WiFi accounts, so anyone in the vicinity can have access to the internet on this extremely important day. We are all in this together & we will win together!"

Meanwhile, Pakistan People's Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari demanded the immediate restoration of mobile phone services across the country.

PPP leader Bilawal took to his social media X, stating that he has asked his party to approach both, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and the courts for the same.

“Mobile phone services must be restored immediately across the country have asked my party to approach both ECP and the courts for this purpose," he posted on X.

Earlier, on Wednesday, twin bomb blasts targeted candidates' offices in southwestern Pakistan, resulting in the tragic loss of at least 28 lives. These attacks, which have been claimed by the Islamic State group, have sent shockwaves across the region.

Furthermore, these elections mark Pakistan's 12th general elections and represent the nation's ongoing endeavour to strengthen its democratic foundations.

As many as 44 political parties are vying for a share of the 266 seats that are up for grabs in the national assembly, or the lower house of parliament, with an additional 70 seats reserved for women and minorities.

Also Read: Nawaz Sharif, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Imran Khan compete as Pakistan votes today amid economic crisis, violence

It's worth noting that Pakistan has experienced periods of direct military rule for over three decades since gaining independence in 1947, highlighting the complex interplay between civilian and military institutions in the country's governance.

Imran Khan, the founder of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) and a widely popular leader in the country, finds himself incarcerated in Adiala jail facing multiple charges. The former cricketer turned politician has been disqualified from contesting the elections and has received sentences of 10 years in the cypher case, 14 years in the Toshakhana case, and seven years in the 'un-Islamic' marriage case.

Also Read: Pakistan polls: A timeline of key events leading up to 8 February parliamentary election

Moreover, the Pakistan Supreme Court has upheld the Election Commission of Pakistan's decision to revoke PTI's iconic 'bat' symbol. Despite these challenges, Khan asserts that the cases against him are politically motivated and has promised a 'surprise' from PTI on February 8, according to Dawn. In a video message shared on his official platform, Khan calls upon his supporters to turn out in large numbers and vote.

(With inputs from agencies)

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