ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) tabled on Tuesday its concerns regarding the general elections in a meeting with the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja. The party has repeatedly expressed reservations regarding the polls’ date, saying that they should be held within the 90-day period as per the Constitution.
“We had a meeting with the ECP in a pleasant environment during which we put all our reservations,” said PPP Vice President Sherry Rehman in a post-meeting press conference. Rehman said that it is the electoral body’s responsibility to conduct the elections, however, the Constitution says the polls should be held within 90 days after the dissolution of the National Assembly.
PPP leader Nayyar Bukhari said that the Constitution says elections should be conducted within the given time period, adding that it is very important to give a date for elections. “ECP heard our stance and will inform us about the polls after a meeting. We will finalise our next action plan in the CEC meeting in Lahore,” said Bukhari.
Meanwhile, the ECP is in continuous consultations with the political parties. The electoral body has invited Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) to hold discussions tomorrow (Wednesday) at 2pm while an Awami National Party (ANP) delegation — comprising Mian Iftikhar Hussain, Zahid Khan, Wakil Khushdil and Wakil Rahim — will hold a meeting at 11am. “There will be consultations with BAP on general elections,” said ECP.
The ECP has already held consultations with the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F). In those meetings, the JUI-F and PML-N had backed the ECP to hold general elections after the delimitation while the PTI had urged the electoral watchdog to drop the process and conduct polls within 90 days.
A day earlier, Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) and Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) met CEC Raja to discuss the uncertainty surrounding the general elections. MQM-P backed the ECP in holding polls after the delimitation of constituencies while JI asked the electoral body it should have issued a poll schedule along with the delimitation to remove ambiguity. The MQM-P delegation led by the party’s Senior Deputy Convener Dr Farooq Sattar informed the ECP that its decision to carry out the delimitations was “correct”, adding that they had reservations about the 2017 census.
On the other hand, the JI told the electoral authority that it should have started the consultation process with political parties earlier. It added that the elections have to be held in 90 days if the assemblies are dissolved prematurely. However, it said that since the ECP has started the delimitation process it would have been better if the election schedule had been issued along with it to “remove ambiguity”.