PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on Friday doubled down on the demand for the immediate announcement of a date and schedule for the general elections, stressing that only polls could take the country out of economic and political crises.
Concerns on the poll timing have arisen from the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) ruling out elections this year. 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.”
With elections potentially just a few months away, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has been engaging in public gatherings and organising party meetings as part of the party’s electoral preparations of late. One such highly-anticipated meeting of the PPP’s Central Executive Committee was held today.
Speaking to the media after the meeting, Bilawal said the announcement of an election date and schedule was the only way to dispel the “confusion and atmosphere of instability and insecurity” prevalent in the country.
Reading out the resolution passed during the CEC meeting, the PPP chairman said: “The party had an extensive discussion on constitutional matters, including the urgent need for dampening the cycle of chronic political instability which will only settle down with the announcement of an election date and schedule.
“The party’s lawyers also briefed the leadership on the responsibility of the ECP to announce an election date and schedule immediately as per the constitutional requirement.”
Bilawal reiterated concerns regarding the lack of a “level-playing field” in the current political landscape, saying that his complaint was connected to “one party”.
In this context, he said PPP co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari was empowered by the party’s apex committee to raise these concerns at “appropriate forums” and address them.
During a CEC meeting a day earlier, the PPP had expressed concerns over the inclusion of pro-PML-N men in the caretaker cabinet, the ban slapped on development projects in Sindh by the election watchdog, as well as the delay in the announcement of a date for general elections.
Reiterating its chairman’s earlier gripe of an uneven playing field in the lead-up to the polls, the PPP had urged the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to hold general elections as soon as possible, if not within the 90-day constitutional limit.
The PPP top brass was found in agreement with Bilawal when it came to the timings of the elections. However, some of the members were concerned over the ‘aggressive’ tone of the PPP chairperson in recent public gatherings.
Bilawal and the majority of the members had brushed aside concerns about his “aggressive tone” and vowed to toe the “same line of true and just politics” and take their stance to the election campaign.