PM Kakar sees no delay in polls due to security situation at bordersPakistan
Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar has said he sees no possibility of a delay in general elections due to the security situation at Pakistan’s borders.
The interim premier expressed these views when asked about the possibility during an interview with Voice of America (VOV) Urdu.
“I see no such possibility at present. Although there is an alarming situation on our western and eastern frontiers in which the security threat and the required response mechanism are being enhanced, we are sure that we will control the situation and complete the electoral process at the same time,” he said.
The PM’s statement comes amid growing demand from various quarters for immediate announcement of the poll date by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), which has already said elections will be pushed beyond the constitutionally mandated period of 90 days following the dissolution of the National Assembly on May 9.
The electoral watchdog reasons its decision to push elections beyond November 9 on the basis of the notification of results of the new digital 2023 census and Section 17(2) of the Elections Act, which states: “The commission shall delimit constituencies after every census is officially published.”
Meanwhile, President Dr Arif Alvi has proposed to the ECP to hold general elections by November 6, citing a constitutionally mandated time frame for the polls.
Earlier, he also invited the chief election commissioner (CEC) to a meeting to decide on a date for the elections. But the CEC declined the invitation, referring to a recent amendment to the Elections Act 2017 that empowered the commission to announce the dates for polls unilaterally without having to consult the president.
PM Kakar has been of the same view, saying on various occasions that appointing a date for elections and organising the polls was the ECP’s mandate and that the caretaker government’s job was just to assist the commission.
He reiterated this stance in the interview with VOA when asked about reasons due to which the caretaker government was unable to end the “speculation surrounding elections”.
“I don’t believe that the caretaker government should intervene and address such speculations.
“Primarily, according to the law and Constitution, it (organising polls) is the Election Commission of Pakistan’s job, and we are certain that they are performing this task with sincerity.
“They have already initiated the process, and they are fulfilling some constitutional requirement, probably pertaining to delimitation … and they will soon announce the [poll] date,” PM Kakar said.
He also assured that the interim government had been taking measures regarding the provision of assistance for holding elections.
“The caretaker government fulfils the Election Commission Pakistan’s requirements and provides assistance wherever required on a daily basis,” he said.
Asked whether the caretaker government would raise any objection if the Supreme Court ruled that elections be held in the 90-day period, he reiterated his stance that it was not for the interim government to raise any such objection.
Holding elections was the ECP’s mandate and the interim government to provide it will all the needed assistance for polls, he asserted.
More to follow