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Had govt acted with mala fide intent, results would have been different, says Gohar

“We knew there would be criticism over the internet and mobile phone shutdown,” acknowledged Ijaz

In this file photo, taken on September 8, 2023, Pakistan’s interim commerce minister Dr Gohar Ejaz (2nd left) speaks during a joint press conference along with other members of the caretaker cabinet in Islamabad.—APP/file
In this file photo, taken on September 8, 2023, Pakistan’s interim commerce minister Dr Gohar Ejaz (2nd left) speaks during a joint press conference along with other members of the caretaker cabinet in Islamabad.—APP/file
  • Knew there would be criticism over network shutdown: Gohar Ijaz
  • Despite the risks, the election proceeded in a stable environment.
  • Murtaza Solangi highlighted that internet shutdowns occur globally.

Denying allegations of state-sponsored rigging, Interim Interior Minister Gohar Ijaz on Friday asserted the government was partial and the election results proved it.

“Had the government acted with mala fide intent, the results would not have been as they are,” Ijaz, who was flanked by Interim 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.

Addressing concerns about the security of polling staff, Ijaz explained, “How could we secure our polling stations in the presence of thousands of people?” The caretaker Interior Minister expressed satisfaction with law enforcement agencies’ handling of the security situation.

Ijaz reported successful coordination among institutions, with more than 600,000 Pakistani forces safeguarding citizens during the election.

Despite the risks, the election proceeded in a stable environment. “It is hoped that the government formed after the election will prioritise the people,” stated the caretaker Interior Minister.

Murtaza Solangi said that contrary to more stringent security measures taken very recently, the internet remained operational amid the polls, and there was no ban on social media during the incidents. 

He highlighted that internet shutdowns occur globally in exceptional circumstances, emphasising the importance of surprise in intelligence. Solangi reported 47 incidents of terrorism since January 15, supporting the argument for decisive actions to ensure public safety.

Ijaz Ejaz stated that the attacks, which claimed the lives of 3 soldiers, 2 Levies, 7 policemen, and 4 civilians in Islamabad, were not suicides.

Ijaz emphasised that both incidents involved detonator devices. Despite facing criticism for shutting down mobile phones and the internet, Ejaz defended the decision, highlighting the need to secure polling stations amid a large voter turnout.

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