LAHORE: A day after Pun­jab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa governors endorsed simultaneous elections in the country, KP Governor Haji Ghu­lam Ali and Railways Minis­ter Khawaja Saad Rafique said the country could not afford separate polls, confirming the ruling coalition’s intention that elections in Punjab and KP within 90 days were not going to happen.

The PML-N leader, who also holds the portfolio of the aviation ministry, said elections should be held simultaneously as the country could not afford separate polls amid a precarious economic situation.

Although he favoured a delay in the polls in Punjab and KP after the dissolution of both assemblies by the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) over 20 days ago, Mr Rafique said the PML-N was not running away from polls as it had contested elections in “worst conditions”.

The minister also criticised the former prime minister and the PTI chairman on whose desire both houses were disbanded.

The PML-N leader said assemblies should have completed their tenure and added if one demand of Mr Khan was accepted, he would have put forth another demand. Such kind of attitude was not acceptable, he added.

“Elections should be held in the country at one time,” he made it clear.

PM’s aide claims Constitution does not say anything about conducting elections in 90 days

Similarly, the prime minister’s special assistants, Malik Ahmad Khan and Attaullah Tarar, also spoke the government’s mind to hold elections of the National and provincial assemblies on the same day after completion of the tenure of the federal coalition.

Malik Ahmad Khan was very categorical about the delay in polls in KP and Pun­jab, saying the Constitution doesn’t say anything about holding elections within 90 days. “We cannot meet the demands of Imran Khan,” the PML-N leaders remarked on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, KP Governor Ghulam Ali said Pakistan could not afford separate elections and added that polls should be held simultaneously.

Published in Dawn, February 8th, 2023

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