ISLAMABAD: The Foreign Office (FO) announced on Wednesday that border crossings with Afghanistan and Iran would remain closed to ensure complete security during Pakistan’s general elections on February 8. FO spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch took to X to convey this message, stating that both cargo and pedestrian movements across the borders would be halted to guarantee full security. Normal operations are expected to resume on Friday.
The announcement follows closely on the heels of back-to-back blasts in Balochistan’s Pishin and Qila Saifullah, resulting in the tragic loss of at least 28 lives. These incidents underscore the heightened security concerns leading up to the elections.
Pakistan has experienced a surge in terrorist activities, particularly in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Balochistan, since the cessation of a ceasefire between the government and the outlawed militant group Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan in November 2022.
Earlier in the day, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja issued directives to the police chiefs and chief secretaries of all provinces to elevate security measures in response to the terror attacks in Balochistan preceding the 2024 general elections.
The CEC held telephonic discussions with Chief Secretaries and Inspector-General of Police (IGP) of all provinces, expressing condolences over the incidents and urging immediate action to address security concerns.
Sikandar Sultan Raja stressed the urgent deployment of security personnel to ensure the safety of voters and the offices of District Returning Officers (DROs) and Returning Officers (ROs) during the electoral process. The directive highlights the imperative of maintaining security and stability during this critical period in Pakistan’s democratic journey.