ISLAMABAD - The uncertainty about the general elections has further worsened after President Arif Alvi joined the mantra of some main political parties who do not see the polls taking place even in January.
Alvi is not the first to stir the controversy about conducting the general elections, as the rest of major political parties except PML-N have started casting doubts about possible delay in the polls.
The top election regulatory body [ECP] has not bothered to strongly react over the statements of even heavyweight politicians including Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Maulana Fazlur Rahman, Siraj Ul Haq but it rushed to dispel the impression of any delay in polls soon after the statement of President Arif Alvi. Bilawal has recently targeted ECP by saying ‘the elections delayed are tantamount to election denied’.
Maulana Fazl was of the view that it might prove unsuitable to conduct the polls in the mid of winter and other parties members also seem uncertain about conducting the polls in the month of January. Unlike the previous political history, the election campaign just before the two months of the general polls [tentative schedule] has yet to gain momentum in any constituency.
Public gatherings, even at their residences or farm houses have not been seen. Though the PML-N supermo Nawaz Sharif’s return to the country has dispelled the impression about the polls but the rival political parties noted that Sharif has yet to talk about the general elections.
However, the PML-N’s insiders claim that Nawaz Sharif would formally start political activities from next week. This is also a noteworthy factor that the main political parties have even not started a proper political campaign including field work in constituencies, work on awarding tickets, seat adjustments, etc. These activities were seen at the peak in the past two months of the general elections. Only, some meetings between the political heavyweights were seen in the media.
The assurances and activities of the electoral watchdog to speedily conclude the delimitation of constituencies, training of staff, work Election Management System [EMS], inviting foreign observers and related matters are ostensibly giving an impression of its intentions to conduct the polls as per stated time.
Political pundits viewed that Imran Khan had rarely missed a chance to give an impression of nexus between ECP’s chief and bigwigs of Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N).
This impression is still in the minds of many. The mist over the polls would only be removed when the former ruling party [PML-N] would start an election campaign in the country.
Nawaz Sharif and his party, after the restoration of appeals against his conviction in the Avenfield Apartments and Al-Azizia references, would now be seen as comfortable to start political activities and election campaigns. The elections history revealed the elections were delayed for so many reasons in the past from 1970 to 2018.
The elections were held in the ‘sizzling heat waves’ and also in the ‘freezing winds’. The delay in the polls in the past is due to different reasons including devastating floods, death of a former prime minister etc. Currently, the country is facing economic challenges.
The Election Commission of Pakistan, before announcing the final schedule, has to take the opinion of the Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Finance for conducting the polls. The elections can also be delayed, under the rules, due to unfavourable economic conditions and deteriorating law and order situation.