Elections may face delay if constituencies delimitation law not passed: railways minister


ISLAMABAD: Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique said on Saturday that the general elections 2018 may have to be delayed if the law for fresh delimitation of constituencies was not passed.

Election authorities have warned the government that they would not be able to conduct elections on time unless the parliament amends the constitutional clause regarding delimitation of constituencies by the November 10 deadline.

Speaking to media representatives in Jati Umra, the railways minister said, “Our party is aware of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan’s agenda but Asif Ali Zardari is working on an unknown agenda.”

He criticised the holding of public rallies (jalsas) by political parties, saying that the holders of such rallies are in a hurry.

“Public rallies should be conducted later. Right now, people should work on electoral reforms which will lead to general elections being held on time,” he said, adding that Imran Khan and Zardari should support PML-N in bringing the important constitutional amendment before they went for public meetings.

Speaking about Nawaz Sharif’s appearance before court, he said that the former prime minister returned to Pakistan despite reservations, since there was no question about not appearing before courts. Sharif had to leave his ailing wife in order to fulfil his responsibilities to the country, he added. He said that Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) was being treated unfairly while its leadership was being illegally trapped.

He also said that, despite a reduction of nine seats for Punjab in the National Assembly, PML-N accepted the recommendations of the census and did not resort to agitation as this was against the party’s agenda. He also mentioned that PML-N was not eager to meet Zardari.

He called PTI and PPP’s reactions over the issue of census undemocratic and “beyond comprehension”, adding that political parties should not obstruct the smooth and timely holding of general elections.

Rafique also said that there were not any divides in the PML-N, nor was it on its way to clash with state institutions. He said that PML-N always stood firm for the supremacy of the Constitution.

Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) earlier demanded of the government to amend the Constitution to allow delimitations according to the provisional results of the 2017 census. As of now, delimitations can only be done according to the final results of census, according to the Constitution. So far, the National Assembly has failed to pass the constitutional amendment bill.