Tuesday February 27, 2024

‘Census first’: Governor hints at delay in KP polls

A tribal jirga, from merged districts, demanded the conduct of a census before holding the general elections, says Ghulam Ali

By Web Desk
January 27, 2023
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Haji Ghulam Ali.—  APP/File
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Haji Ghulam Ali.—  APP/File 

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Despite Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan's key demand, Governor Haji Ghulam Ali has said that he does not see the conduct of general elections in the province within the stipulated time frame of 90 days.

During an interaction with journalists on Friday, the governor said: “400 tribal elders have requested him that elections should be held after three to four months.”

He added: “If a province demands to conduct census first or intelligence agencies advise to postpone elections then how will the elections be held?”

According to the governor, a tribal jirga — comprising 400 elders belonging to merged districts — demanded the conduct of a census before holding the general elections.

On the other hand, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement–Pakistan (MQM-P) raised questions over the previous census and threatened to boycott the elections, he added.

Ghulam Ali also raised a question if former KP chief minister Mahmood Khan could run the election campaign in his constituency during the prevailing situation.

Referring to the terror attacks on police and rising terrorism in the province, the governor asked if elections could be held in Waziristan, Bannu and Lakki Marwat.

He added that law and order issue should be addressed ahead of the provincial polls.

ECP gears up for Punjab, KP elections

The ECP, after the appointment of caretaker chief ministers for Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, is considering preparing for elections and by-elections for the provincial legislatures, The News reported citing local media.

In this regard, Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan chaired a session which was told that the ECP has completed preparations for electoral material, polling stations and voter lists.

It was also informed that the electoral body was prepared to hold elections in the provincial assemblies following their dissolution. The meeting decided to contact the governors of the two provinces to fix the polling date for the election in Punjab and KP. The ECP decided to issue the election schedule after a decision on the polling day.

The meeting was directed to step up preparations for elections and early completion of the process of appointment of presiding officers and other election staff.

The session was attended by the election commission’s members, provincial election commissioners and officials from all wings of the ECP.

The ECP is bound to hold general elections in the province within 90 days, now that the caretaker chief ministers have been appointed for both provinces.

The electoral body can hold polls within 22 to 45 days because constitutionally it requires at least 22 days to scrutinise the nomination papers of the candidates.

The candidates will be given 29 to 30 days to run the election campaign. Considering such a timeline, it is possible that the ECP may conduct the polls between March 1-April 10.

Until then, the selected nominees will perform their duties as the interim CM until the formation of a new government in the province.