Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Vice President, Senator Sherry Rehman, has voiced concerns regarding the ambiguity surrounding the general elections date. Citing the Constitution, Rehman underscored the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) mandate to ensure the execution of general elections within 90 days post the National Assembly’s dissolution.
She accentuated, “There’s no provision in the constitution stipulating the necessity for delimitation before an election.” Consequently, she has encouraged the ECP to officially declare the general elections date, emphasizing its constitutional duty.
While endorsing the decision to base the elections on the newly released census, the ex-federal minister revealed that the PPP had previously given its nod during the Council of Common Interests (CCI) meeting. This decision was contingent on the understanding that the present seat arrangement would remain unchanged. Rehman further propounded that the delimitation process should be swift, given the unchanged seat landscape.
PPP Senators Reinforce Constitutional Imperatives
In unison, PPP Senators Waqar Mehdi and Palwasha Khan expressed their commitment to upholding constitutional norms, especially concerning the timing of general elections. Drawing attention to the essence of the Constitution, they pressed that no legal impediments, such as the delimitation of constituencies, should postpone elections beyond the stipulated 90-day window. “Abiding by the Constitution is paramount,” they pronounced.
However, the ECP’s recent revelation has stirred concerns within the PPP ranks. The ECP divulged a schedule outlining fresh delimitations based on the latest census ratified by the CCI. This exercise is projected to span nearly four months, triggering apprehensions regarding potential delays in the electoral process. Echoing these sentiments, PPP senators labelled this postponement as “unconstitutional”, given the ECP’s obligation to host elections within the prescribed 90-day period.
Counter Perspectives from Other Political Factions
Contrasting PPP’s stance, former interior minister and leader of the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N), Rana Sanaullah Khan, offered an alternative viewpoint. He conveyed that parties, including the PPP, had anticipated this delay, having been privy to the census-related discussions during the CCI meeting. Khan reiterated that all parties acknowledged that only the 2018 elections were based on the 2017 census. Thus, holding the impending elections in alignment with the new census emerges as a constitutional prerequisite.