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Saturday, April 13, 2024

Uncertainty prevails over elections date

News Analysis |

Despite the fact that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has announced the date of the general elections 2018, uncertainty prevails among the political parties due to the cancellation of delimitation in some districts.

On May 6th, the Election Commission of Pakistan proposed conducting the general elections at the end of July, considerably July 25th, initially giving four week between the submissions of nomination papers and putting up the lists of final candidates.

Read more: Will General Elections 2018 be held on time?

With this in mind, on Saturday, Pakistan People Party’s (PPP) Central Punjab General Secretary Chaudhry Manzoor said political parties and their candidates are confused whether to start preparations or not as the delimitation in some district has been canceled, citing reservation of the local leaders.

Due to this reason, political parties and their candidates are living in an uncertain environment – will the elections be held on time or will they be delayed?

He said, on one hand,  the elections date has been announced and on the other hand, delimitation are being canceled. The forms of candidates are being rejected the day candidates submit their forms due to this prevailing confusion.

He further expressed curiosity as to who will issue the new form as the previous were issued with the approval of government, adding that the Election Commission of Pakistan doesn’t have the authority of issuing new electoral forms.

Chaudhry Manzoor questioned how the candidates will submit their forms when their constituencies have been canceled.

Along with the delay, there are some reports of a Technocrat Government being installed, which certain political parties such as the PTI, Jamaat Islamai and PPP will strongly try to resist. Such political parties will experience disadvantage if such a move or plan was to be unearthed or if the Establishment plays any role in forming the Government.

Read more: Will caretaker government be able to hold free and fare elections?

Moving back to the election date, the general elections remain unaffected – for now. This is after the Election Commission of Pakistan’s decision to extend the last date of submission of nomination papers after Supreme Court of Pakistan suspended an ill-timed Lahore High Court order, which was seeking the revision in nomination papers. To this, the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan made a statement to the effect in Lahore, yet to give a warning of the delays, while further concerns are being raised by Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PMLN) and Pakistan People Party (PPP).

The PPP senior leader Senator Aitzaz Ahsan expressed concern by stating that the Islamabad High Court (IHC) declared delimitation of multiple constituencies, which might lead to a delay in elections as the ECP might also approach the court on the issue.

He went one step ahead and said that it seems as if ‘some system’ is pushing for the delay. The panic created by the PPP leader was somewhat contained after the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar said that there was no possibility of a delay in the upcoming elections unless the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) ‘becomes helpless.’

Even though Justice Nasirul Mulk’s made a statement stating that polls will be held on schedule was persuading, the history of the country is making uncertainty prevail.

As uncertainty prevails, it seems that history is repeating itself with Pakistan’s constitutional arrangements being put on hold and the country suffering in the same way, while the country’s electoral mandate is unsure. To break this cycle, a timely and smooth transition of power is necessary.

This is no reason as to why the general elections cannot be held on July 25.