Sheikh Rasheed declares weather too hot for elections, calls for delay

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RAWALPINDI: Awami Muslim League (AML) chief Sheikh Rasheed on Tuesday encouraged delaying the upcoming general elections as to give the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) time to make reasonable preparations, besides letting the hottest part of summers pass in comfort.

Sheikh, a principal ally of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) while speaking to the press in his hometown of Rawalpindi said that he was speaking on behalf of the common man.

“For the first time in my life, I want to request [sic] the chief justice … My mothers, daughters and sisters would not want to stand in cues for two to three hours in this 50-degree heat. The common man is not capable of standing in cues for three to four hours,” he said.

“We’re going into elections but still do not have voting lists or a final decision on delimitation,” he observed and further added, “The ECP must be commended for announcing polling stations and booths, but people cannot climb up three floors in this weather. There is no water in Rawalpindi and power outages are lasting up to four and five hours. It’s 50 degrees in Pindi, [imagine] what the temperature would be in Nawabshah, Rohri.”

The AML chief while refuting Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar’s stance on timely elections stating the reason that timely elections should be able to ensure that voters of all political parties are facilitated with basic necessities.

“[All right] I don’t ask for a 10-15 day [delay]; the chief justice has given his verdict so we will stick to it,” said Sheikh Rasheed, “Let the elections be on July 25, but then the ECP should also allow us to make arrangements and facilitate people. We’d have to make arrangements for water too at the 1,180 polling stations.”

“Of course, PTI is the bigger party and it has to take these decisions, but my understanding with Imran Khan was that I would also be consulted regarding the PTI’s candidates. But so far, my consultation has not been sought,” he further added.

“The role that God reserved for me in the Khatam-e-Nabuwwat [movement] has led to all the religious parties of Rawalpindi standing with me and Imran Khan’s alliance. We will claim a historic victory in elections,” he concluded.