Taking a dig at his allies in the erstwhile Pakistan Democratic Movement-led ruling coalition, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Monday claimed the PPP was the “only” political party in the country that wanted timely elections.
“PPP is the country’s only party that wants elections to take place,” he said in a press conference in Karachi, lamenting how “so-called” political leaders were coming up with excuses to delay polls.
“You must have seen that sometimes a so-called leader comes on screen and says: ‘Delimitation has to happen and until then [elections can be delayed]’. Okay let’s accept delimitation [needs to be done] but that process has been completed so now there should be no issue in giving the date [for polls].
“If not delimitation, then sometimes someone begins talking about the weather that ‘it is very cold in February and January so how will we contest elections,’ while others talk about the law and order situation,” Bilawal said.
His statement appeared to be a criticism of JUI-F emir Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s concerns over holding elections in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa at a time when they remain gripped by intense winter.
In a media talk on Sunday, the JUI-F chief had said it was not possible to hold general elections in KP and Balochistan in January. “In January, weather would be harsh in Chitral, Khuzdar, and other parts of KP and Balochistan,” he had said.
The Election Commission of Pakistan earlier this month announced that general elections would be held in January next year but did not provide a date. In the run-up to polls, political parties have begun preparation for their electoral campaigns.
In another significant step toward polls, the ECP last week issued a report of preliminary delimitation of constituencies in light of the 2023 digital census.
Talking about the discourse over the timing of elections today, Bilawal said the public should realise who was running away from accountability in polls and who was ready to present themselves for answerability before voters.
“The PPP will continue its politics and would not rest before securing the notification for an election date,” he asserted.
Bilawal further said that the PPP was ready to present its ideology and manifesto before the public as a part of its preparations for the upcoming elections.
In a media talk earlier today, PPP’s Yousuf Raza Gilani echoed Bilawal’s remarks. “I have read Fazlur Rehman’s statement … apart from him, no one has raised any objections to elections in January,” he said.
The ex-prime minister also stated that any party that had reservations about delimitation should raise the issue with the ECP.
Meanwhile, PPP veteran leader Farhatullah Babar has said the “vibes say no elections” and warned of the consequences of “denying people free choice”, which he stated could invite disaster.
“Hold free, fair elections. Don’t play with fire. Federation at brink, don’t push it into pit,” he warned in a social media post on X (formerly Twitter).