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Government Temporarily Suspends Cellular Services in Punjab and Baluchistan During By-Elections

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The Pakistani government has temporarily suspended cellular services in specific districts of Punjab and Baluchistan during the by-elections on April 21-22. This decision ensures the integrity and security of the electoral process. In line with the directions of the Ministry of Interior, cellular services will be temporarily suspended in certain districts of the two provinces for two days.

The Punjab government had requested the federal government to suspend mobile internet services in the province’s 13 districts and tehsils on April 21. The request was made to maintain the law and order situation in the province and avoid any untoward incident. To ensure this, the provincial home department requested the suspension, as by-elections are scheduled on nearly two dozen National and provincial assembly constituencies on April 21.

According to the letter, requests for suspending mobile internet services have been made for the Lahore, Sheikhupura, Kasur, Sadiqabad, Kot Chutta, and Dera Ghazi Khan districts. Meanwhile, the tehsils where suspension is requested include Talagang, Chakwal, Kallar Kahar, Gujarat, Ali Pur Chatha, Zafarwal, and Bhakkar. The decision has been made to ensure the smooth conduct of the by-elections without any security threat or disturbance.

In the first major by-poll exercise after the February 8 elections, by-polls will be held on 21 National Assembly and provincial assembly seats. These include five NA seats and 12 Punjab Assembly seats, two each in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan assemblies. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz vacated two National Assembly seats in Punjab, NA-132 (Kasur) and NA-119 (Lahore), and candidates will be up against each other on Sunday.

The NA-44 (Dera Ismail Khan) seat was left vacant after provincial Chief Minister Ali Amin Gandapur retained his provincial assembly seat, PK-113. By-polls will also be conducted in the NA-8 (Bajaur) constituency, which was left vacant after one of its candidates, Rehan Zeb Khan, was murdered ahead of the February 8 general elections. Pakistan Peoples Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari vacated the NA-196 (Qamber Shadadkot) seat in Sindh, which will also see a by-poll.

Finally, the temporary suspension of cellular services in specific districts of Punjab and Baluchistan is intended to ensure the integrity and security of the electoral process during the by-elections. The decision has been made to avoid any security threat or disturbance and ensure the smooth conduct of the elections.

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