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Wednesday, June 19, 2024  
12 Dhul-Hijjah 1445  

If not held in 90 days, elections could be indefinitely postponed: Murtaza

Abid Zuberi says the CCI meeting over delimitation was illegal
File photo.
File photo.

Senator Kamran Murtaza has said that if elections are not held in 90 days, the delay can go to any extent.

He made the remarks in Spotlight with Munizae Jahangir on Wednesday, where he along with Abid Zuberi, Ashtar Ausaf and Kunwar Dilshad discussed election delay, special courts and President Arif Alvi’s statement about not assenting to two controversial bills.

Abid Zuberi said that his petition in the court argues that delimitation should not be made the basis for election to be delayed. He added that he also believes that the Council of Common Interests meeting that decided the issue was ‘not correct’ since two provinces were not represented by legal government.

He added that all the petitiners in the military courts case had argued that civilians cannot be tried in military courts. He said that the attorney general had told the court that no trials have yet begun in military courts.

Zuberi said if police had handed over Hasaan Niazi to the military, it was wrong because only the court had the power to do that.

Former Attorney General Ashtar Ausaf said that the statement from the attorney general about no trials having begun yet was ‘categorical’. He said that a statement by the AG is sacrosanct and carries alot of weight.

Regarding the statement of Arif Alvi about not signing the two controversial bills, Ausaf said that the constitution’s intent would have to be seen and it would have to be considered whether the president had the right to veto.

He added that if there is no veto power, then Alvi had no right to return bills without signature.

Senator Kamran Murtaza said that the it seemed that the president was trying to satisfy all parties involved in the matter of the two bills. He said that Alvi simply could not gather up the courage to write out his objections on the two bills.

He added that Alvi was occupying the highest office in the land but was not strong enough to open his opinion. He said that Alvi needs to ‘open his mind’.


Kunwar Dilshad said that his statement about elections not being possible by May was based on administrative reason. He said that delimitations still had to be carried out under Article 51.

He said that the process of delimiatations followed by appeals and then fresh generation of voter lists, which would take more time.

Answering a question about whether this could put Senate elections in jeopardy, Dilshad said that the whole nation was looking towards the Supreme Court in the matter. If the court struck down the CCI decision, Dilshad said, elections can take place in 90 days.

Zuberi said that the constitution had already been violated in terms of elections since polls had not taken place in Punjab and KP as per orders of the Supreme Court.

He also said that he did not see how an act of parliament that had amended election laws could ovverride the constitutional requirement of holding elections within 90 days.

Ausaf said that the constitution had to be regarded as a whole and articles could be taken in isolation. He added that there are precursors and prerequisites of which delimitations were an important one.

Ausaf also pointed out the the 2017 census was ‘provisional’, a fact that it often overlooked.

Murtaza added that one wrong, decreasing the population of Balochistan by seven million from preliminary results, had already been committed.

He added that if elections did not happen in 90 days, the matter would not remain in control and the delay could go to any extent.

Murtaza said that there was no way Senate elections could be delayed through an ordinance. He said that the country had to be run through chosen representatives and there was no way around it.

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