In preparations for the upcoming general elections on February 8, 2024, the Caretaker Information Minister of Balochistan, Jan Achakzai, has announced a temporary suspension of internet services in key polling areas across the province. This decision, aimed at preemptive security measures, follows a heightened terrorism alert.
Achakzai emphasized that the suspension of internet connectivity is crucial to deter potential threats, particularly through social media platforms, which could be exploited by terrorists to incite violence. The affected areas include Turbat, Mach, Chaman, and other localities, where the impact of the internet shutdown will be most pronounced.
Prior to this announcement, the Balochistan administration had already restricted public gatherings and election-related events as a preventive measure. Achakzai cited increased security risks, including the presence of a female suicide bomber within Balochistan’s official residence, to justify these precautions.
Contrary to the measures implemented in Balochistan, Pakistani Minister Murtaza Solangi confirmed that there are currently no directives to suspend internet or mobile services nationwide on election day. With the nation bracing for the polls amid a surge in pre-election violence, Solangi reassured the public that any law and order issues arising on election day will be promptly addressed by local authorities.
Solangi urged citizens to exercise their right to vote responsibly, emphasizing its significance in upholding the democratic fabric of the nation. Despite security concerns, both the Information Minister and the central government in Islamabad have reiterated their commitment to conducting the elections as scheduled on February 8th.