The Balochistan Assembly on Wednesday passed a resolution seeking a month-long delay in the holding of upcoming general elections, even as the opposition staged a walk-out in protest against the move.
Submitted by Balochistan Home Minister Mir Sarfaraz Ahmed Bugti, the resolution urges the provincial government to approach the federal government with regards to postponing the election for a month.
The resolution, a copy of which is available with DawnNewsTV, states that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has set the date of July 25, 2018 to hold the imminent countrywide poll.
According to the resolution, the weather in most areas of Balochistan during the days of the scheduled election is unbearably hot "which makes it nearly impossible for voters to participate in the electoral process". The absence of electricity at polling stations also makes things very difficult for the polling staff, it states.
It urges the Balochistan government to ask the federal government to reschedule the election to a month later and hold it in the last week of August so that the people of the province can fully exercise their right to vote.
Opposition leader Abdul Rahim Ziaratwal opposed the resolution, saying such a proposal was tantamount to wrapping up democracy for good.
He said the opposition would accept the delay in the election if the entire country desired the rescheduling.
Demanding that Bugti withdraw the resolution, the opposition leader said that the resolution should have been submitted three days earlier. Bugti should file a request with the ECP instead, he suggested.
The home minister refused to budge on his stance, however, saying it was his right to submit the resolution.
Stressing that his resolution was not anti-democracy, Bugti said his party had been previously accused of sabotaging the Senate elections held earlier this year and accepting bribes as well.
He then went on to question National Party Senator Mir Hasil Bizenjo's election to the upper house. "When Hasil Bizenjo was elected a senator, no member of the National Party was present in the assembly," he claimed.
As the resolution supported by Chief Minister Mir Abdul Quddus Bizenjo was passed by the assembly, the opposition staged a walkout from the session in protest.