Pakistan postpones polls to February 18

January 2nd, 2008 - 7:40 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Benazir Bhutto
Islamabad, Jan 2 (ANI): Chief Election Commissioner of Pakistan Justice (retired) Qazi Muhammad Farooq today said that the parliamentary elections, which was earlier scheduled on January 8, will now be held on February 18 in the wake of the assassination of former premier Benazir Bhutto and the consequent violence that followed.
The decision to postpone comes 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.
Expressing deep grief over the sad demise of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) chairperson Benazir, Farooq said: “Her demise affected every walk of life; similarly, January 8 elections were also affected.”
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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