ISLAMABAD - Former interior minister Rana Sanaullah said that the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) was objecting to the fresh delimitations on the basis of the 2023 census out of fear of losing a few seats as an increase in the number of Karachi seats was expected.
Remarks of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) senior leader came during a local TV programme, wherein he maintained that a delay in conducting general elections beyond 90 days would not make any difference. He said that the Council of Common Interests (CCI), in which PPP leaders were also present, had approved the new census by consensus.
On August 17, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) announced the elections couldn’t be held in three months due to the requirement of fresh delimitations after the notification of census 2023, as decided by the CCI. “There is a consensus of the entire nation on this census. New delimitation is a constitutional requirement,” Sanaullah said. He explained that everyone objected to the 2017 census, but since elections were around corner, a one-time “amendment” was made to hold polls on that particular headcount. He stressed that holding elections on a “tainted census of 2017” would be unconstitutional. Therefore, delaying polls for another 80 or 90 days would not be an issue, he added.
In contrast to the PML-N’s position, PPP Vice President Senator Sherry Rehman urged the ECP to duly announce the date of general elections in line with the provisions of Article 224 of the Constitution. “Our Constitution binds the Election Commission of Pakistan to conduct general elections within 90 days of the dissolution of the National Assembly, however, there is no constitutional requirement for conducting delimitation,” Rehman said, calling upon the ECP to announce the election date to fulfill the constitutional obligation.
Moreover, Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani said that political parties that were part of the previous coalition government of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) — including the PPP — were aware that after they approved the census results, fresh delimitation of constituencies would take place in the country. Talking to media persons a day earlier, the Senate chairman said that if political parties had objections to the exercise of fresh delimitations in the country, they shouldn’t have notified the census results after approving them at the CCI.
Furthermore, Sanaullah claimed that no illegal case was made against any leader of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and that he had to make a way according to the situation. Azam Swati was produced in the court fifteen minutes after his arrest, while Shahbaz Gill was produced before the court a day after his arrest, the former interior minister said. “These people were arrested according to the law,” he claimed. Sanaullah further claimed that if 100 first information reports were registered not a single one was false. “If a person takes bail in one case, but not in another, he should be arrested,” he said. He said Shehryar Afridi was released on parole by the Islamabad High Court. The Ministry of Interior cannot release an accused on paro