ECP must announce election schedule to dispel confusion: PPP.
LAHORE - In a notable shift from its initial stance where it firmly advocated for holding elections within 90 days of the dissolution of assemblies, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) now appears to have adopted a more moderate position regarding the election date.
The party’s central executive committee, which Friday concluded its second session, is now calling for the timely announcement of the election schedule and date as per the constitutional requirements, with a willingness to consider a slight extension if necessary.
“Our primary concern at this moment is the immediate announcement of the election schedule and date by the Election Commission of Pakistan. The question of whether they should be held within the 90-day period or later will be addressed subsequently”, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari Friday stated this while briefing reporters about the decisions made by the party’s CEC on issues relating to upcoming elections.
It’s worth noting that Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and his like-minded party men have been the ones advocating for elections to take place within the 90-day timeframe. In contrast, the party supremo Asif Ali Zardari recently expressed support for the Election Commission’s position, suggesting that elections could be conducted after the delimitation of constituencies, even if it extends beyond the constitutional deadline.
For now, it appears that the party’s central executive committee has aligned with Asif Ali Zardari’s perspective.
Later, replying to different questions, Chairman Bilawal stated that it would be impractical to reiterate all the reservations expressed by PPP representatives from across Pakistan regarding the fairness of the political landscape. He said these concerns were presented to President Zardari for resolution. Bilawal emphasised that every opinion had a context, and the party had not yet reached a final decision regarding its election strategy. “Therefore, their demand for the election date and schedule was aimed at formulating a strategy once these details are available”, he maintained.
Bilawal emphasised the PPP’s nationwide focus and equal importance given to each province, underscoring that no one questioned other political leaders like Nawaz Sharif about their lack of presence in Sindh, Balochistan, or Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. He also recounted the party’s history in Punjab and how it was removed from power through conspiracies in 2013 and 2018, involving various individuals and entities.
“The conspiracy was first hatched in 2013 by General Pasha, Chief Justice Chaudhry Iftikhar and a political party. Then in 2018, General Faiz Hameed and Saqib Nisar conspired to keep the PPP out of Punjab and plonk a certain political party. One political party suffered during its government because PPP was kept out of Punjab”, he said. In response to a question about Friday’s verdict about the NAB laws’ amendments by the Supreme Court, the PPP leader said that Justice Bandial is the last judge who was restored through a notification. Now, the history will give its verdict whether there was any benefit to the country of the movement of judiciary.
Answering a question about political dialogue with the PTI, Bilawal said, “Before 9 May we were trying to have a dialogue with every political force for the elections but the PTI decided to attack the Jinnah House, GHQ and other army installations. We can have a dialogue with those not involved in the attacks of 9 May. Our doors are open for negotiations with non-militant entities.” Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said that the CEC discussed the constitutional stand and then the stance of the Election Commission of Pakistan on elections. “We were all of the opinion that to allay any confusion, the ECP should announce the schedule of the elections. We think that once the election schedule is announced, all the political parties will be in election mode and come out with their manifestoes. The PPP will also present its manifesto to the people of Pakistan”, he maintained.
He said the PPP had always tried to strengthen the parliament and parliamentary institutions so that we can all benefit from its fruits.
Regarding the constitutional stance and the Election Commission of Pakistan’s stance on elections, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari expressed the consensus within the CEC that the ECP should announce the election schedule to dispel any confusion. He expected that once the schedule is out, all political parties would enter election mode, including the PPP, which would present its manifesto to the public. He reaffirmed the party’s commitment to strengthening parliamentary institutions.
Chairman PPP stressed his keen interest in Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan and his commitment to providing opportunities to the youth and engaging them in both politics and the economy.