Following the recent approval of a resolution by the upper house of parliament to delay Pakistan’s general elections, a similar resolution was introduced to the Senate on Friday.
Independent Senator Hidayat Ullah moved the resolution and urged the postponement of the February 8 general elections, citing significant “security challenges.” It appeals to the Election Commission of Pakistan and the Supreme Court to consider rescheduling the polls for three months to ensure peaceful conduct. The resolution also raises concerns over the increasing instances of targeted attacks on candidates participating in the upcoming elections.
Political Reactions and Context of the Resolution
This proposal follows requests from the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) for a Senate session dedicated to ensuring the timely execution of the general elections, as reported by The News. PTI Senator Ali Zafar initiated a requisition, backed by other senators, demanding a discussion on the electoral process.
Additionally, PPP and Jamaat-e-Islami senators have shown support for this move. The requisition argues that Pakistan cannot afford political uncertainty and stresses the need to uphold democratic processes in line with Article 224 (2) of the Constitution, which mandates holding general elections within 90 days.
The Senate’s unexpected decision on January 5 to unanimously pass a resolution delaying the February 8 general elections sparked surprise and disbelief. The resolution, proposed by independent lawmaker Senator Dilawar Khan, cited extreme weather conditions in hilly areas and a worsening security situation as reasons for the postponement. Only 14 senators were present in the 100-member Senate during the resolution’s passage.
Senators, including Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s Afnanullah Khan and caretaker Information Minister Murtaza Solangi, opposed the resolution, while others from PPP and PTI did not express their stance. Senator Dilawar Khan, during his speech, highlighted severe winter conditions, security threats to political leaders, and the persisting COVID-19 concerns as justifications for postponing the elections slated for February 8.