KARACHI: The ECP’s announcement of a rough timeline for the general elections has drawn a mixed response from political parties, with some approving and others, who are not satisfied by the general timeframe, asking for a more specific date.
While two mainstream parties, the PML-N and PPP, have welcomed the announcement, the Awami National Party (ANP) has called for a precise date, and the PTI has vowed to challenge the move in court.
PTI’s core committee member Niazullah Niazi mentioned that the constitution calls for elections within 90 days, and exceeding this timeframe is against the law.
“We plan to challenge the Election Commission’s decision. The way the ECP is operating doesn’t seem in line with constitutional principles,” Mr Niazi told Geo News.
ANP calls for ‘specific date’, PML-N urges all forces to commence preparations
Separately, in a statement, a party spokesperson said that since the matter of holding elections within 90 days was pending before the Supreme Court, it was not possible for the nation to accept any date other than the 90-day limit until the apex court gave its final judgement in this regard.
‘Uncertainty must end’
Senior PML-N leader Ahsan Iqbal expressed his party’s satisfaction with the commission’s decision, saying it has put an end to the uncertainty surrounding the delimitation process.
“From the very beginning, everyone knew that the Election Commission had to carry out delimitation after the census,” Mr Iqbal said.
“Initially, the ECP had indicated that the delimitation process would conclude by December 15, followed by estimated polls in February next year.
PPP leader Qamar Zaman Kaira, in a cautious statement, mentioned that he could provide his personal viewpoint on the issue and considered the development as “favourable.”
Speaking to Geo News, Mr Kaira explained that he couldn’t speak on behalf of his party, which had been urging the ECP to adhere to the constitution in announcing the election schedule. The former federal minister expressed his hope that the uncertainty would now dissipate, and he looked forward to a positive progression.
MQM-P leader Mustafa Kamal also expressed his satisfaction with the government and the ECP for meeting their demand to conduct elections after completing a fresh delimitation process.
However, he emphasised the importance of observing whether the ECP would address their party’s concerns regarding constituency demarcation after releasing the initial delimitation list.
‘Give us a date’
In the meantime, the ANP has called on the commission to give a specific election date.
When asked about the ECP’s announcement, senior ANP leader Zahid Khan stated that their request has consistently been for elections to take place within 90 days. He noted that the party had raised this issue during their meeting with Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja.
Published in Dawn, September 22th, 2023