Bharat Express

Pakistan Govt Cites Instability, Terrorism And Threat Of ‘All-Out War’ With India Among Hurdles In Holding Provincial Polls

Pakistan was not only threatened due to insecurity because of external aggression but also by internal instability, their report said, adding that both were interlinked.

The political instability in Pakistan, a spike in terrorism and the threat of an ‘all-out war’ with India were among the security-related hurdles cited by the defence ministry which prevented the government from holding the provincial election in Punjab now, according to a media report on Thursday.

The report, submitted to the Supreme Court by the defence ministry, noted that elections in the politically crucial Punjab province would fuel fault lines in Pakistan and might encourage India to take advantage of ethnic issues, water disputes, and other issues, the Dawn newspaper reported.

The ministry submitted its report along with an application to request the apex court withdraw its election-date order, fearing a spike in terrorism threats if elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assemblies were held before polls in other provincial assemblies.

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A three-member bench of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial on April 8 fixed May 14 as the new date for elections to the Punjab Assembly and quashed the Election Commission’s decision to extend the date of the poll from April 10 to October 8.

The newspaper said that the report stated Pakistan faced cross-border terrorism, instability in the country, threats from the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban (TTP), the Islamic State (IS) fighters returning to Pakistan from several countries, the “ill-designs of the Indian spy agency” and “even an all-out war” with the neighbouring country.
The report explained that the security situation over the last few years had necessitated the concurrent deployment of forces on the country’s eastern and western borders.

The report also feared that Pakistan would continue to be a victim of the “global great game”, where India enjoyed primacy. Pakistan was not only threatened due to insecurity because of external aggression but also by internal instability, it said, adding that both were interlinked “since the internal chaos invites external aggression”.
Referring to the Punjab province, the report said a fresh wave of terrorism had emerged in the province, with some 150 threat warnings received from January 2022 to April 2023.

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Of them, 78 threats had been averted through counterterrorism or intelligence-based operations, but eight could not be prevented, the report said.
It said sleeper cells of terrorist elements were active in Punjab, especially south Punjab, and even in Islamabad, as evidenced by the high-profile attacks. Besides, several militants belonging to the self-styled Islamic State (IS) group and other outfits were also returning to Pakistan from Syria, Yemen and the Middle East, it said.
The report, however, hoped that the recent understanding among China, Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan to counter terrorism would produce better results in six to eight months.

Talking about the internal political scenario, it stated that a charged environment in Punjab might lead to instability in the country and highlighted that there were several threat alerts received against senior leaders of different political parties, mostly in Punjab.

Source: PTI