Islamabad: In the wake of recent terror attacks in Peshawar, Bannu and Mastung and crackdown on the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) workers in Punjab, political activity has slowed down in the country, almost to a halt, clouding the general elections less than 10 days away.
Prominent politicians and leaders of the political parties have postponed their public meetings where they deliver fiery speeches, an election ritual in Pakistan and now they have simply confined themselves to issuing statements.
On Sunday, a day of mourning for 135 innocent victims of July 13 terror attack in District Mastung (Balochistan) leaders of the two arch rivals, PML-N and Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) — Shahbaz Sharif and Imran Khan — were in Quetta, the capital city of Balochistan, to condole the deaths and to inquire about the injured. Chairman of the Pakistan People’s Party Bilawal Bhutto Zardari also postponed his address in Malakand Division due to security concerns.
Not only political leaders but Caretaker Prime Minister Justice (R) Nasirul Mulk, Senate Chairman Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani, Pashtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party Chairman Mahmood Khan Achakzai and Balochistan interim Chief Minister Alauddin Marri also visited the bereaved families of the terror attack and offered Fateha for the dead and wished the injured an early recovery.
A prominent politician in Balochistan and candidate for the Baloshistan Assembly PB-35, (Khuzdar), Nawab Siraj Raisani leader of Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) was also among the victims of the attack. It was in fact during his election rally that the suicide blast occurred.
It was also on July 13, when four people lost their lives and a dozen injured in Bannu city of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province during a corner meeting of the Muttahida Majlis-e-Aml (MMA) leader, former Chief Minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and candidate for National Assembly NA-35 (Bannu) Akram Khan Durrani. However, he escaped the attack as he was not present at the time of the blast.
Earlier, on July 10, Awami National Party (ANP) candidate for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly PK-78 (Peshawar), Haroon Bilour was killed in a suicide blast at a time when he came to address a corner meeting in his constituency. His father and senior leader of the ANP, Bashir Bilour was also killed in a suicide attack back in 2012. Elections in PB-35 and PK-78 have already been postponed and there are also reports of minor attacks on the houses and convoys of election candidates in different parts of Balochistan.
Talking to Gulf News, former Secretary Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) Kanward Dilshad said the current Secretary of the ECP Babar Yaqoob Fateh Muhammad who has served as Chief Secretary of Balochistan had cautioned the federal as well as the provincial governments against possible terror attacks but the interior minister and the provincial government, particularly of KP and Balochistan failed to perform their duties. Kanwar Dilshad dismissing any possibility of postponement of elections, said elections would take place on time yet such acts of terrorism could affect the morale and momentum of the people.