Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar says shutting down mobile networks on polling day is “rigging”

Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari speaks during an interview with AFP in Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistan-administered Kashmir on May 22, 2023. — AFP
Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari speaks during an interview with AFP in Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistan-administered Kashmir on May 22, 2023. — AFP
  • Independent candidate Khokhar says it is “beginning” of rigging.
  • Interior Ministry suspends cellular services “temporarily”.
  • JI leader Hafiz Naeem demands immediate restoration of services. 

Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said on Thursday that his party will approach both the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and relevant courts in a bid to restore mobile phone services on election day. 

Earlier in the morning, the Ministry of Interior suspended cellular services “temporarily” across Pakistan as part of security measures as the nation votes today in the general elections.

An interior ministry’s spokesperson said that precious lives were lost in recent incidents of terrorism in the country in the run-up to the general elections.

However, several political parties including PPP and Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) raised questions over the suspension of mobile phone services, saying that it was the “worst situation ever”. 

Taking to X, Bilawal wrote, “Mobile phone services must be restored immediately across the country have asked my party to approach both ECP and the courts for this purpose.”

‘Injustice done to 250m Pakistanis’

JIP Karachi Emir Hafiz NaeemUr Rehman said that suspending cellular services was the worst situation ever. 

“We demand the interior minister to restore the mobile services immediately. By suspending the services, injustice has been done to 250 million Pakistanis.”

PPP senior leader Saeed Ghani said that questions will be raised over the suspension of cellular services, demanding to restore the services on an immediate basis. 

“The government is responsible for the law and order situation in the country and it is not appropriate to make the election process controversial,” he added. 

‘Beginning of election day rigging’

Independent candidate Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar said that shutting down mobile networks on polling day is the beginning of election day rigging. 

“Pre-poll environment was already one of the worst in Pakistan’s history. Cutting candidates off from their agents and staff on election day is unacceptable. How is one supposed to keep a check and highlight any irregularity? By the time news comes out election would have been stolen,” he wrote on X. 



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