ISLAMABAD/LAHORE: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) has criticised the federal government and the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) over the failure to hold local bodies elections in the capital despite Islamabad High Court’s (IHC) orders.

According to a statement issued by the PTI’s central media department, the party’s Chairman Imran Khan lashed out at the ECP for not holding the elections. He alleged that the election commission once again showed that it was the “B team” of the government and its backers.

He said the ECP failed to implement the court’s orders and added the ruling Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) was “fearful of the people”.

That’s why the ruling coalition has been running away from elections, Mr Khan added.

Imran says PDM ‘fearful’ of people; Ahsan Iqbal calls out ‘double standard’

The right to vote was a fundamental democratic right and the PTI stood committed to it, he said.

PTI’s ‘double standard’

Responding to the PTI chairman’s criticism, Federal Planning and Development Minister Ahsan Iqbal said Mr Khan’s party has no moral standing to advocate for the local bodies’ polls.

“The Supreme Court had restored the local bodies but the then Buzdar-led government refused to implement the court’s decision,” he said, adding that for several months, former Punjab chief minister Usman Buzdar violated the apex court’s decision but no action was taken against it.

“Will the PTI tell who sent the local body representatives home after coming to power in 2018?,” he asked while referring to the PTI’s decision to dissolve local bodies in Punjab in May 2019.

Disappointed voters

Earlier in the morning, several voters reached the educational institutions where polling stations were to be established, only to find locked doors with no polling staff in sight.

Several PTI supporters also waited in queues and criticised the government. They said the government ran away from the elections as it was fearful of the PTI policy.

On Friday, the IHC gave the ECP and the Centre less than 24 hours to implement its order and hold local bodies polls in Islamabad.

Immediately after the IHC verdict, the federal government and the electoral watchdog said holding the polls was ‘impossible’ as it required extensive logistic and security arrangements.

Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah said there were around 1,000 polling stations that needed to be secured which was not possible.

According to ECP officials, the exercise required the mobilisation of staff and transportation of ballot papers and other equipment, which was not possible within a few hours.

Published in Dawn, january 1st, 2023

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