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November 5, 2017

ECP warns against delay in elections

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November 5, 2017

ISLAMABAD/LAHORE: The Election Commission of Pakistan  has warned that introducing a constitutional amendment with respect to delimitation by Nov 10 is necessary as even a delay by a single day would make it very difficult to hold general elections in time.

The statistics and law secretaries have been told that the Election Commission of Pakistan  (ECP) is fully prepared for the purpose, but no progress on adding new names to the voters’ lists and delimitation is possible because the constitutional amendment has not been introduced.

On the other hand, Railways Minister Saad Rafique on Saturday criticised the PPP for refusing to engage with the PML-N on election-related legislation and said Asif Ali Zardari was working on some unknown agenda, adding the dubious attitude of both PPP and PTI on delimitation was incomprehensible. The federal minister warned that the next general election could be delayed if the constitutional amendment on delimitation of constituencies was not made in time.

“Imran Khan appears to be in some kind of a hurry with all his public meetings. His agenda is well known to the PML-N and the people of Pakistan, but Zardari is working on some unknown agenda,” the minister said after a meeting with PML-N president Nawaz Sharif at Jati Umra. He remarked that his advice to Mr ‘Einstein’ Zardari and the person holding rallies (Imran) was that they should shun using abusive language and holding public meetings, which could be organised later, and sit together with the PML-N to bring constitutional amendment on delimitation ahead of the next years’ elections. “It is not just PML-N’s interest, it is in the national interest,” he stressed.

Talking to media, Saad said they were not desperate or in a hurry to meet Zardari, as “only those people could eat the "Laddo" (sweets) he (Zardari) distributes who have digestion similar to that of his”. He noted that there was no mechanism to hold those judges accountable who gave cover to martial law and dictators. Responding to a question about Pervez Musharraf not appearing before the courts, Saad said the generals were sent home with guard of honour and there was no one to question them (for their actions).

The judges – who violated their oath, took oath from dictators and endorsed martial law – also never faced accountability, but none of the elected prime ministers was allowed to complete their term of office, he remarked. “These are historical facts. But we are accused of confrontation for mentioning them. And if avoiding clash means zipping the mouth and being thrashed forever then we will not do this,” Saad made it clear.

To a query, he said Nawaz would definitely appear before the court, for which he, being a responsible Pakistani, had to leave his ailing wife in a foreign country. Despite having reservations, Nawaz, being a democratic leader, has been appearing before the court of law, he added.

Meanwhile, PPP information secretary Chaudhry Manzoor said the shop whose "Laddo"were served by Zardari to the PML-N has been closed. In his reaction of Saad’s comments, he alleged the PML-N’s entire history is of serving the dictators, adding the PPP had always stood for constitution and democracy.

He said his party, unlike the PML-N, had never pursued someone’s agenda except that of the people. Nawaz repeatedly served others and had moved the Supreme Court, while wearing a black coat, on someone’s agenda, Manzoor added.

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