Political parties in a fix over developments ‘aimed at delaying polls’


LAHORE: Even though the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has announced the schedule for the 2018 general elections, major political parties of the country including Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) are in a fix over the recent developments apparently “aimed at delaying the polls”.

PTI Central Punjab Information Secretary and former MPA Murad Ras while speaking to Pakistan Today said that he and his party were concerned over the recent election-related developments especially writ petitions in various courts regarding nomination forms and decisions pertaining to the delimitation of constituencies.

“It should be investigated that who is trying to get the general elections delayed.  We have finalised our candidates and everything is in place for the elections but ECP, all of a sudden, has announced to stop issuing nomination papers because of a Lahore High Court ruling ‘to bring certain changes in the papers’,” he said.

“Where were these people who challenged the nomination papers, earlier?” he questioned and went on to say that, printing new nomination papers was not an issue.  “I can print 8,000 plus nomination papers in half an hour. But the ECP has halted the process of issuing nomination forms contrary to its previous announcements.”

He said PTI was concerned over all these developments and stressed that there should be no delay in the elections.

It is pertinent to mention here that ECP during its executive meeting decided not to issue the nomination papers from Saturday following the LHC decision.  On the other hand, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday announced its decision regarding the delimitation of 18 constituencies and declared delimitation in certain constituencies null and void. The Balochistan Assembly had passed a resolution which called for a delay in the general elections owing to Hajj.

Meanwhile, PTI central leader Senator Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar said that elections should not be delayed even by a minute. “There should be no delay in the polls at any cost. PTI is fully prepared to contest the elections,” he said.

PPP Punjab Secretary General Chaudhry Manzoor said that confusion prevailed everywhere over the fate of the upcoming general elections. “What is the correlation between the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) chief minister’s letter and Balochistan Assembly’s resolution calling for a delay in holding the general elections?” he asked.

He further said, “On one hand, the schedule of elections has been announced while at the same time, delimitation of constituencies has been declared null and void.  Moreover, the form itself has been declared void on the day when candidates were to obtain the nomination papers from ECP.”

“Nomination forms were made through an Act of Parliament,” said Manzoor, questioning that who would issue the new forms now that the parliament had completed its tenure and ECP had no authority to make any.