Blasts adding to doubts over polls, says Pakistani daily

Islamabad, April 25 (IANS) Security should have ranked higher in the government’s priority list, a Pakistani daily said Thursday as the country witnessed a string of bombings ahead of the general elections May 11.

“We seem to be seeing another security failure – right when we needed it least,” said an editorial in the News International.

With just less than three weeks to the polls, there have been a series of bomb blasts, causing not only death and injury, “but also adding to the multiple doubts and conjectures which now hang over these polls”.

The caretaker setup “does not appear to have fared very well in its main task of keeping things calm so that we can have a smooth transition to power, and this augurs badly for all of us”, the daily said.

On Tuesday, an improvised explosive device (IED) went off near an election office of the MQM in Karachi as people gathered around to look at a torn campaign poster. At least two people died and dozens were injured.

The same day saw four blasts in different parts of Quetta. A day later, another bomb went off in the city.

“The purpose then seems to be to create public panic, with rising anxiety in Quetta leading to people mostly staying away from what little electoral activity is taking place in a largely traumatised city,” observed the editorial.

This is clearly not the right kind of environment in which to go into an election – an election that is meant to be historic, the daily said, adding: “A low turn-out is expected – never a good sign.”

It went on to say that trouble had been anticipated even before this electoral campaign had begun.

“Security should surely have ranked higher up the priority list. No one is claiming this is an easy task, given the complications involved and the diverse factors at play.”

The authorities “need to work out some way to tackle this challenging situation”.

“The prevailing uncertainty and sense of chaos will only hamper the electoral process and add to the existing fears. This is very dangerous, especially since we need transparent polls participated in by as many as possible,” the daily added.

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