Aaj English TV

Monday, May 20, 2024  
11 Dhul-Qadah 1445  

Three federal ministers hint elections might be delayed till 2024

Coalition partners express concerns over CCI notification
Pakistani election officials wait outside a distribution centre to collect ballot boxes and voting materials in Karachi on July 24, 2018. AFP
Pakistani election officials wait outside a distribution centre to collect ballot boxes and voting materials in Karachi on July 24, 2018. AFP

Three federal ministers have hinted that the general elections might be delayed till next year, 2024 – a concern which was raised after the Council of Common “unanimously” approved the 2023 census results.

“I think there can be a difference of 33 to 45 in 90 days as the Constitution says that delimitation should be done when the census is notified,” he said in an interview with Munizae Jahangir on Spot Light on Monday. “But hopefully it would not go beyond 50 to 60 days.”

The CCI’s August 5 decision has increased the likelihood the government will delay elections due this year. The reason has been attributed to the “time taken” by the Election Commission of Pakistan for delimitation which is required for elections.

Many fear that it would be delayed until March when the Senate would complete its tenure. PTI lawmakers are part of the upper house of Parliament despite the resignations of many members from the National Assembly after former prime minister Imran Khan was ousted through a vote of no-confidence in April 2022.

Experts have also raised questions over the government’s decision to dissolve the assembly before its constitutional tenure as the same step was taken by the PTI chief in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa which was opposed by the ruling alliance.

They have also criticised the interim governments in both provinces for not conducting the timely elections and not following the Constitution and Supreme Court orders of the May 14 elections. This order was opposed by Parliament and Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah.

But the PML-N lawmakers before the CCI decision and recent legislations tabled in Parliament have refused such rumours and called for timely elections.

On Aaj News, the law minister was responding to a query pertaining to concerns from JUI-F Senator Kamran Murtaza from Balochistan and Mohsin Dawar over the statistics shown in the census which was changed after being notified by the CCI.

Tarar described Murtaza’s statement on delayed elections as “completely a political statement” and “respectfully” oppose him. A mechanism was available as per the Constitution, he said and added that it was for the ECP that how soon they complete delimitation.

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He agreed with the host that elections would be held in February before Senate polls. “It will not go beyond that.”

Meanwhile, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah told Geo News on Monday night that elections would be held in the third week of February or the first week of March if fresh delimitation was done.

He went on to add that there was a constitutional argument available for the extension in the tenure of an interim government from 90 days to 120 days. “It is written in the Constitution that two elections cannot be held on one census result. The Constitution says that delimitation is a must after the census is notified.”

Defence Minister Khawaja Asif expressed fears that elections might be delayed for one to two months.

In an interview with CNN, he said that polls would not be delayed beyond that. The defence minister reiterated that the National Assembly would be dissolved on August 9 evening after which the country’s top electoral authority would hold elections within 90 days according to the Constitution.

But Asif hinted that polls could be delayed for one to two months on “specific circumstances”, but it would not go beyond that.

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