General elections to be held on ECP nod, says Marriyum

Published June 14, 2023
Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb speaks to journalists in Lahore on Tuesday. — Photo courtesy; PID
Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb speaks to journalists in Lahore on Tuesday. — Photo courtesy; PID

LAHORE: As the ruling coalition is indecisive about holding the general elections in coming October, a PML-N federal minister says elections will be held after the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) gives a date for the purpose on completion of the government’s tenure in August, 2023.

“The PML-N and its allied parties have said that we will hold elections when the ECP gives a date after completion of the incumbent government’s tenure in August. It is the responsibility of the ECP to give the elections date,” Federal Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb said in a talk with journalists here on Tuesday.

Uncertainty prevails over the fate of the elections, which are otherwise due in coming October after the completion of the PML-N led government’s term on Aug 13, 2023.

There have been divergent statements from the coalition government’s leaders regarding holding the general elections in October.

Of late, PPP’s Asif Ali Zardari made categorical remarks that the elections would only be held with his nod.

“The elections will be held when I decide,” said Mr Zardari the other day.

Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) president and JUI-F head Maulana Fazlur Rehman also expressed doubts over holding of polls in October.

“We are political people who are in favour of elections but the decision regarding (October) polls will be taken in consultation with the other coalition parties, just as the PDM made decisions after consulting the allied parties in the past,” Fazl had said.

Former governor and PPP’s senior leader Makhdoom Ahmad Mahmood had hinted at delay in polls, saying the caretaker setup, after the completion of the tenure of the incumbent federal government, might prolong for at least six months if it performed well economically.

A senior PML-N leader from Punjab Dawn spoke to on Tuesday said seeking anonymity that no decision on holding polls in the country in October had been taken yet.

“The federal coalition which is a nine-party alliance is not on the same page regarding going into elections this year. There are two sticking points – whether the fate of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan is decided ahead of completion of the tenure of the government and whether the IMF signs an agreement with the Shehbaz administration or not,” he said, adding that the outcome of these two matters would clear the scenario with regard to elections in October.

He said a stable economy was linked to the IMF deal. “If the incumbent government fails to cut a deal with the IMF… we don’t see elections this year, as the powerful quarters too are very much concerned about the economy,” the PML-N leader said.

Ms Aurangzeb, however, maintained that her party was “fully prepared” for elections.

“The PML-N has already launched the election campaign as Maryam Nawaz is holding rallies in the country,” she said and added the PML-N needed its supreme leader Nawaz Sharif in the country, but Pakistan needed him the most.

Mr Sharif has been living in the United Kingdom since November 2019 in ‘self-imposed exile’.

The information minister also visited the Jinnah House and chided Imran Khan for ‘masterminding’ the attack on Lahore corps commander’s residence and other military and state buildings.

She demanded bringing all culprits, including the “mastermind” of the May 9 events, to justice without any delay.

During a visit to the Lahore Press Club, she said health cards would be given to media workers and a mechanism for the purpose would be finalised within two weeks.

Published in Dawn, June 14th, 2023

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