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Election 2024: PPP approaches CJP as parties decry mobile, internet suspension

PPP, PTI, JI approach ECP against suspension of mobile, internet services during voting process

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Bilawal says his mandate can't be given to anyone else

After countrywide disruption of cellular and internet services during general elections, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) on Thursday wrote a letter to Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa, citing the high court’s orders given in 2018 for not suspending the said services on polling day.

The Bilawal-led party, expressing its concerns in a letter to the top judge, stated that the “unannounced disruptions of internet and mobile network connectivity today” is “severely impacting the general elections.”

“Due to this countrywide disruption, voters are unable to access information related to their polling station or coordinate logistics to access the polling stations,” it added.

— Supplied
— Supplied

The party sought the top court to recall clear orders for not suspending internet on polling day as they were given by the Islamabad High Court (IHC) in 2018. The PPP termed the suspension of services in violation of the high court’s orders.

“The discontinuation of network services has created problems for voters, candidates, and electoral staff.”

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The disruption of mobile network has impacted voter turnout. Despite the PPP’s request to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), the services have not been restored, it further stated.

Earlier, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has lodged a complaint with the Election Commission of Pakistan against mobile and internet services disruptions across the country on the polling 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”. 

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“We, the Pakistan Peoples Party are concerned on the recent unannounced disruptions of internet and mobile network connectivity across Pakistan which is severely impacting the General Elections,” PPP’s election cell in-charge Taj Haider wrote in a letter addressed to Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikander Sultan Raja.

Due to this countrywide disruption, voters are unable to access information related to their polling station or coordinate logistics to access the polling stations, he added.

The discontinuation of network services has created problems for voters, candidates, and electoral staff.

“Understandably, without access to internet and mobile networks, voters are unable to access vital information about polling stations and follow other electoral procedures and coordinate logistics to access respective polling stations,” the complaint added.

The PPP urged the ECP to take immediate action to restore mobile network and internet connectivity to ensure free and fair elections.

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“The immediate restoration of mobile network and internet will demonstrate ECPs commitment to a free, fair and transparent Elections 2024,” it added.

Earlier, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said that his party will approach both the ECP and relevant courts in a bid to restore mobile phone services on election day. 

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.”

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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.

Additionally, the politico-religious party’s election cell in Karachi also wrote a letter to the Sindh election commissioner to demand immediate restoration of the services.

— Supplied

‘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. 

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Omar Ayub Khan harshly criticised the authorities for cutting the mobile phone services on the day of the election, calling it an interference in the electoral process and hurdles for the citizens.

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Later the party also wrote a letter to the ECP complaining about the difficulties being faced by the voters due to the suspension of the mobile services.

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pakistan

4.3 magnitude earthquake jolts parts of Punjab

4.3 magnitude earthquake jolts parts of Punjab

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4.3 magnitude earthquake jolts parts of Punjab

An earthquake measuring 4.3 on the Richter scale struck various parts of Punjab including Lahore on Monday 

People came out of their homes in panic and started reciting verses from the Holy Quran. No loss of life and property was reported in any part of Punjab. 

According to the National Seismic Monitoring Centre, Islamabad, the epicentre of the earthquake was located five kilometres south of Sheikhupura at the depth of 45 kilometres.

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Pakistan Army shoots down Indian quadcopter on LoC

Pakistan Army shoots down Indian quadcopter on LoC

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Pakistan Army shoots down Indian quadcopter on LoC

Pakistan Army has shot down a spy quadcopter of Indian Army on the Line of Control (LoC).

According to a statement issued by the Public Relations Department of the Pakistan Army (ISPR), on Monday, an Indian Air Force quadcopter spying on Pakistan was shot down.

The ISPR said that the army has found the downed quadcopter inside Pakistani territory.

It may be recalled that it is the fifth anniversary of Operation Swift Retort today. On February 27, 2019, the Pakistan Air Force shot down Indian fighter planes that violated Pakistani airspace. 

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PTI founder, Bushra Bibi indicted in 190m pound case

PTI founder, Bushra Bibi indicted in 190m pound case

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PTI founder, Bushra Bibi indicted in 190m pound case

 An accountability court indicted the PTI founder and his wife Bushra Bibi in the ill-famous 190 million pound case – also previously known as Al-Qadir Trust case – as the judge, Nasir Javed Rana, held hearing at the Adiala jail.

All the cases involving the former PTI chairman are being heard at the jail premises – where he is imprisoned – because of the security threats, for which Bushra Bibi was shifted from her Bani Gala residence where she is serving her sentences in two cases – Toshakhana and illegal/un-Islamic marriage.

Meanwhile, her husband has so far been convicted in three cases – cipher, Toshakhana and illegal/un-Islamic marriage.

During the proceedings, the two accused pleaded not guilty, as the judge adjourned proceedings till March 6 while also summoning five witnesses to record their statements on next hearing.

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However, the accountability court accepted two pleas filed by the PTI founder, requesting permission for an appointment with his dentist and general physician.

Previously, the indictment had been postponed on several occasions due to the absence of Mohammad Bashir – the accountability court judge who is set to retire on March 14 and has applied for leave preparatory to retirement (LPR).

However, the law ministry last week appointed District and Sessions Judge Rana as an Accountability Court No 1 Islamabad judge to replace Bashir who went on leave on deputation for a period of three years. 

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