Karachi, September 8, 2023 – Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari has emphatically demanded that general elections be held “as soon as possible” and within the constitutional time frame of 90 days. This call comes amidst discussions about the election timeline and the reasons behind the delay.
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had previously ruled out the possibility of elections occurring this year. However, Article 224 of the Constitution mandates that elections should take place within 90 days following the dissolution of the National Assembly (NA), with the deadline set for November 9.
The ECP has cited the need to await the results of the 2023 digital census and Section 17(2) of the Elections Act, which requires constituency delimitation following the publication of every census, as the basis for delaying the polls beyond November 9.
During a media briefing in Karachi, Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari highlighted three critical challenges facing the nation: inflation, unemployment, and poverty. He emphasized that the PPP’s primary focus is on addressing these issues, stating, “Our fight is against poverty, unemployment, and inflation.” Bilawal underlined the party’s track record of people-friendly governance and assistance to the underprivileged.
He further asserted that holding elections promptly, within the constitutional framework of 90 days, is essential to serving the people effectively and mitigating the economic challenges Pakistan is currently facing.
Addressing questions about Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s recent statement regarding the PPP’s alleged backtracking on early elections, Bilawal acknowledged the maulana’s seniority in politics and refrained from delving into specifics. However, he emphasized that the PPP has consistently been prepared for elections, whether on May 14 or within 60 or 90 days, in accordance with the Constitution.
Bilawal also highlighted differences in interpretation between the PPP, the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), and the ECP regarding the Constitution. While the PPP maintains that elections should occur within 90 days, others argue for waiting until the delimitation process concludes.
He commended the ECP for advancing the delimitation schedule following PPP engagement but urged the commission to announce election dates and schedules promptly.
Bilawal expressed concerns over the ECP’s decision to transfer police, provincial secretaries, and commissioners in Sindh, asserting that such actions should wait until the election schedule is formalized. He also raised concerns about the disruption of ongoing development and welfare projects in the province, urging the ECP to reevaluate its approach.
Responding to another query, Bilawal extended support to politicians facing challenges and emphasized the importance of learning from experiences. He stressed the need to discourage attempts to impose “puppets” on the country and highlighted the people’s right to make their own choices in a democratic system.
Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari’s call for timely elections within the constitutional framework underscores the PPP’s commitment to addressing pressing issues and serving the interests of the Pakistani people. The debate surrounding election timing and constitutional interpretations continues to shape the nation’s political landscape.