ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Spokesman Raoof Hasan Saturday urged the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to shun the ‘useless practice’ of hiding behind the technicalities and announce a cut-off date for the general election.
He called on the ECP to play its constitutional role to ensure holding elections within the constitutionally mandated timeframe of 90 days, criticising the commission for its ‘dillydallying tactics’ to announce a specific poll date. The spokesman alleged the election watchdog, through its officials, was trying to use technical reasons as an excuse to avoid the announcement of the exact elections date, adding that the system of Pakistan was built on the foundations of democracy; hence the ECP should focus on exercising of its constitutional duty to conduct fair and transparent elections within the constitutionally defined framework.
“The electoral body is not willing to give constitutional rights of vote to 240 million after the dissolution of the National Assembly on August 9. The ECP adopted approach of criminal negligence towards the serious efforts of the president of the country to ensure polls within the constitutionally defined time limit,” he contended.
The PTI spokesman said that the entire nation was in great anxiety pertaining to the electoral watchdog’s attempts to rob the nation of their rights to vote under the guise of technical tricks and misinterpretation of the Constitution.
In another statement, he made it clear that the primary mandate of the caretaker government was to hold free, fair and transparent polls in the constitutionally defined time limit of 90 days instead of focusing on privatization of the Sate-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) in such a short term.
Reacting to the interim government’s privatization plan, the PTI spokesman said that the caretaker setup wanted to tackle the losses being incurred by SOEs by undertaking sale of these entities that raised suspicion on the intent of the interim setup regarding its tenure, besides creating a legal challenge. However, he emphasized the best thing the interim government can do is to expedite the election process and ensure elections are held within 90 days, so that the process of fixing SOEs can then be undertaken by an elected government with a mandate.
“PTI believes that the government has no business running businesses. Therefore, it is in favour of an orderly and transparent exit through strategic sale of the companies’ shares by the privatisation commission, but with an elected government in place,” PTI spokesman added.
He went on to say that given that the interim government’s term was short and its primary mandate was to hold free and fair elections, the only thing they can do was to help SOEs was to improve their efficiency and cut losses.
“Focusing on privatisation and trying to expedite it in such a short tenure raises suspicions on the intent of the interim government with regards to its tenure, opens the government up to allegations of impropriety, and also makes any privatisation activity subject to legal challenge, further complicating a sensitive process,” he remarked.