Musharraf justifies poll postponementJanuary 2nd, 2008 - 11:20 pm ICT by admin
Islamabad, Jan 2 (ANI): Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf on Wednesday justified the postponement of the polls to February 18 by stating that the prevailing condition was not at all conducive to hold the elections in the wake of large scale rioting and violence that followed the assassination of former premier Benazir Bhutto.
“What we achieved in Sindh in last six to seven years were damaged in the just two days,” Musharraf lamented during his televised address to the nation this evening, and added that several offices of the Election Commission (EC) were ransacked due to which the EC was not able to hold election on schedule.
He said that he has directed the caretaker Prime Minister Mohammedmian Soomro to appoint a commission that would identify the people responsible for ransacking and violence in country, especially in Sindh, which happens to be Benazir’s home province.
Alleging that he could see a ‘communal and political overtone in all the violent incidents’, Musharraf warned: “We cannot tolerate the prevailing situation. We need to take action on a war footing”, and added that initially he was reluctant to deploy army to contain the ‘worsening law and order situation’, but had to do so in the view of the prevailing situation.
Earlier in the day, Chief Election Commissioner of Pakistan Justice (retired) Qazi Muhammad Farooq announced postponing the parliamentary elections, which was earlier scheduled on January 8, to February 18.
The decision was arrived three day after the Commission began a high-level meeting to assess the whether the situation prevailing in the country was conducive enough to hold the polls.
“Her demise affected every walk of life; similarly, January 8 elections were also affected,” Farooq told reporters.
Farooq also said that the offices of the Election Commission of Pakistan were the most hit in Sindh, where at least 11 district offices were completely destroyed by mobs.
During the meeting that was chaired by Chief Election Commissioner, the EC officials told Commission that its work were hampered in several areas of the country due to large scale rioting.
They apprised the Chief Commissioner about the fragile law and order situation prevailing in most parts of the country, especially in Sindh where several offices of the Commission were set on fire.
They said that the recompilation of the destroyed record of the Commission and redeployment of around one million temporary polling staff were an uphill task, which would require another 10 to 12 weeks.
According to the EC, its offices and ballot boxes and voting scanners were torched in Sukkur, Jamshoro, Naushehro Feroze, Qambar, Shahdadkot, Thatta, Ghotki, Jacobabad, Badin and Dadu districts of Sindh.
It was also stated that the Commission found it impossible to complete the printing of ballot papers by January 5.
The suspension of oil supply and closure of petrol and CNG stations adversely affected the electoral process in terms of transportation and logistics. The law and order situation in many parts of the country was not conducive to electioneering.
Meanwhile, both the PPP and the Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) have made it clear that they do want any postponement in the schedule of the January 8 polls. (ANI)
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