Pakistan Election Commission’s announcement ends uncertainty about fate of polls n ECP will announce exact date of vote later n Spokesperson says commission decides to hold elections after completion of delimitation processes n Election date announcement a positive development, says Murtaza Solangi.
ISLAMABAD - The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has decided to conduct the general elections in the last week of January 2024, following the completion of the delimitation processes, delaying the vote which was to be held in November under the Constitution. The Election Commission will announce the exact date of the vote later.
In a statement issued on Thursday, the ECP spokesperson mentioned that the commission will publish the definitive list of constituencies on November 30. Subsequently, the general election schedule, spanning 54 days, will be announced in preparation for the elections.
In a Thursday meeting, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) reviewed the progress made by the constituency delimitation committees and decided to publish the preliminary list of constituencies on September 27.
The ECPs’ announcement has dispelled the impression of delaying the polls for a long time. The caretaker government has also immediately welcomed the tentative schedule for the polls. The top election regulatory body, in an important meeting, stressed that preliminary delimitations will be completed later this month, and a provisional list will be published by September 27, 2023.
Hence, the process of filing of, reviewing and disposing of objections and suggestions by stakeholders and political parties will commence, which will be completed with the publication of final delimitations by November 30, 2023.
The ECP before issuing this tentative schedule has also scheduled its meeting with political parties to discuss the code of conduct for general elections. The commission, inside sources said, will give the final schedule of the elections after meeting with the political parties.
The commission has recently received a letter from President Arif Alvi for setting the date of general election by November 6, 2023. The letter came against the backdrop of reports that the president would unilaterally announce a date for the elections. In the letter, the president argued that he had dissolved the National Assembly on the prime minister’s advice on August 9, so the polls should be held within 90 days.
The commission has set a firm deadline for its delimitation of constituencies committee, as it has been tasked with finalizing its work by September 26, with a rapid plan to publish preliminary delimitations very next day, on September 27.
The ECP’s chief had also recently held separate meetings with US envoy Ambassador Donald Blome and British High Commissioner to Pakistan Jane Marriot over the upcoming polls in the country. “We agree that it’s crucial the country sees free, credible, transparent and inclusive elections in line with the law,” said Jane Marriot after meeting with CEC shared his comments on X – formally known as Twitter. The country’s main political parties including Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP) and others recently asked the Election Commission to hold polls at the earliest to end prevailing uncertainty in the country. The political parties in its upcoming meeting will also push the commission to not delay the polls. The PTI has also rejected the tentative date for the general elections.
Meanwhile. Caretaker Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Murtaza Solangi Thursday said that the announcement of the election date by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) was a positive development.
Addressing a news conference, he welcomed the announcement on behalf of the caretaker government.
It was a moment of delight that the election would be held in line with the law and the Constitution.
Flanked by Caretaker Federal Minister for Privatization Fawad Hassan Fawad, he said it was a day of despair for rumour-mongers as the ECP made the announcement regarding general elections which would be held in the last week of January 2024.
The ECP had said that all the groundwork would be completed by November 30 and political parties would be given 54 days for the election campaign in line with the Election Act 2017, he added. Murtaza Solangi said the country would be run by elected representatives of the people which would bring political and economic stability.
‘PROCESS OF PRIVATIZATION’
Minister for Privatization Fawad Hassan Fawad has clarified that the process of privatization being pursued by the caretaker government is strictly within the very mandate entrusted upon it by the previous elected government. He was addressing a news conference alongside Minister for Information and Broadcasting Murtaza Solangi in Islamabad on Thursday.
The minister refuted the impression that the caretaker government has extended the privatisation process under some policy. He mentioned the amendment made by the previous government in section 230 of the Elections Act in which the mandate of caretaker government was expanded to continue the policies for the sake of continuity. Fawad Hassan Fawad said privatization process has certain timelines which cannot be skipped otherwise the financial costs of delay in these transactions will directly burden the national economy causing increase in fiscal deficit and upsurge in inflation.
He clarified that the caretaker government has not added any institution or organisation in the list of ‘to be privatized’ entities rather these are all those which were enlisted after due deliberations by the elected governments. The minister said media should avoid baseless news and the government is open for all queries or confusion regarding any issue and it be given chance to respond and clarify the position.
The minister said the purpose of privatisation is to make these entities profitable and add value in their services for the people. He said PIA was facing financial issues hampering its regular functioning therefore funds were issued within forty hours to meet its needs. About Pakistan Steel Mills, the Minister said its existing one point million ton capacity will be increased to three million ton after its privatization. Only its operational assets will be privatized and not those outside the operational area. Speaking on the occasion, the Minister for Information said the situation is clear after the Election Commission’s announcement today regarding the general elections to be held by the end of January 2024.