News Analysis |
The Chief of the Awami Muslim League (AML) Sheikh Rasheed has expressed his desire to delay the general elections due to the hot weather in the country. Sheikh was talking to media in his hometown and noted that ‘the general elections are going to be held in very severe weather conditions and it may cause a low turnout on the polling day,’ he feared.
“For the first time in my life, I want to request [sic] the chief justice … My mothers, daughters and sisters would not want to stand in cues for two to three hours in this 50-degree heat. The common man is not capable of standing in ques for three to four hours,” he said.
In Pakistan, the high temperature is bordering on extreme these days, in most parts of the country. In Karachi, several people have been died due to heatstroke.
He also complained that the date has been set for the general elections by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) but they have not received the voting lists and a final decision on the delimitation as yet.
Read more : Will General Elections 2018 be held on time?
“We’re going into elections but still do not have the voting lists or a final decision on delimitation,” he observed and further added, “The ECP must be commended for announcing polling stations and booths, but people cannot climb up three floors in this weather. There is no water in Rawalpindi and power outages are lasting up to four and five hours. It’s 50 degrees in Pindi, [imagine] what the temperature would be in Nawabshah, Rohri.”
The AML chief further said that if the elections are not delayed then the ECP should allow the politicians to facilitate their voters.
“[All right] I don’t ask for a 10-15 day [delay]; the chief justice has given his verdict so we will stick to it,” said Sheikh Rasheed, “Let the elections be on July 25, but then the ECP should also allow us to make arrangements and facilitate people. We’d have to make arrangements for water too, at the 1,180 polling stations.”
Sheikh Rasheed fears if the ECP does not allow politicians to facilitate their voters the later will not come out to stand in queues and give their verdict on the elections day.
CJP ensures Elections will be held on time:
The Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) has already assured that “the general elections will be held on time at all costs.” He has directed the ECP to make all necessary arrangements so that the elections take place on the scheduled date.
Delayed Elections in Pakistan:
If the general elections are delayed in the country, it won’t be for the first time in the history of Pakistan. Interestingly, in 1988, the general elections were held long after the 90 days deadline. In 2008, they were postponed for one month after the assassination of Benazir Bhutto on December 27, 2007.
Read more : Uncertainty prevails over elections date
Moreover, the Article 254 of the Constitution of Pakistan provides legal justification/cover for any delayed elections.
Analyst Professor Dr. Hassan Askari argues that “June and July are extremely hot months. The rainy season starts in mid-July and continues until the end of August. Pakistan experiences floods in August or early September.
It might be difficult to hold the elections in July or August due to the rain and floods. Never in Pakistan have the general elections been held during these months”.
Apart from some reservations of a few scholars and politicians, all mainstream political parties and towering political figures are on the same page and want the elections to be held on the said date. The ECP has been directed by the Supreme Court to make all necessary arrangements in time so that politicians may campaign and mobilize the masses.