Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah stated on Friday that the federal government is not in a position to hold local government elections in Islamabad, despite the court‘s orders to do so tomorrow (December 31).
“We respect the court [Islamabad High Court], but holding the elections is not possible as the arrangements cannot be made in such a short period,” the federal minister told Geo News.
He continued by saying that up to 1,000 voting places would require security, and that polling place supplies and polling place workers would also be required.
The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) petitioned the Islamabad High Court (IHC) to overturn the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) decision to postpone the local elections, and the IHC earlier ordered the ECP to hold local government elections in the capital on December 31.
“The federal government is directed to provide all the assistance to the Election Commission of Pakistan for conducting the local bodies’ elections as mandated by the Constitution,” Justice Arbab Muhammad Tahir said in a one-page short order.
The minister further stated that the centre would challenge the ruling internally since “ground realities” prevented the administration from ensuring the elections happened.
While noting that instructions should be “implementable” and that the most recent IHC judgement will ensure “that the elections do not take place,” the minister claimed he was not surprised by the order.
There is no alternative way to hold the elections, according to Sanaullah, who disqualified himself from aiding the electoral commission and called for the release of a fresh schedule for the voting.
“It isn’t possible [to assist] the commission. We cannot provide security in such a short time period for 1,000 polling stations. Islamabad Police are not enough as will need to deploy Rangers and FC will have to be called in,” he added.
As the new delimitation will take time, Sanaullah predicted that the elections would occur within the next three to four months.
Imran Khan’s reaction
Imran Khan, the chairman of the PTI, applauded the court’s decision and praised Islamabad’s citizens for having the ability to elect their government “by the strength of their vote.”
اسلام آباد ہائیکورٹ کی جانب سے وفاقی دارلحکومت میں 31 دسمبر کو ہی بلدیاتی انتخابات کے انعقاد کا حکم،
— PTI (@PTIofficial) December 30, 2022
The former prime minister remarked, “Unfortunately, a corrupt set of people has been foisted on us, and the election commission is hand in glove with them.
The ECP is always issuing “anti-democratic” directives, according to the PTI head, and “honourable courts have invalidated the election commission’s unconstitutional ruling.”
The former premier claimed that the “gang of corrupts” is terrified of the populace and always makes an effort to sabotage elections in order to guarantee their continued hold on power.
The deposed prime minister asked the people of Islamabad to ensure their participation in the polls as he eyed beating his political opponents in tomorrow’s elections.