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June 1, 2018

Balochistan Assembly resolution for delaying election is unjustified


June 1, 2018

PESHAWAR: Though the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has categorically announced holding polls on time, the Balochistan Assembly resolution demanding delaying of general election for one month can be termed an unjustified excuse.

The Balochistan Assembly not only adopted the resolution, but also gave itself one-day extension in its tenure in the name of doing some necessary legislation.

Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) leaders Farooq Sattar and Faisal Sabzwari’s threats of possible election boycott, Islamabad High Court order against delimitation of some constituencies, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s U-turn on Punjab caretaker chief minister’s nomination, ex-chief minister KP Pervez Khattak’s letter to ECP demanding holding election for provincial assembly seats in Fata on July 25, and above all the Balochistan Assembly resolution have all created doubts and are seen by some as a bid to sabotage the elections.

Citing departure of pilgrims for Hajj and monsoon rains as the reasons for delaying the polls at least for a month is totally an unjustified excuse. It seems the mover did not bother to check Hajj flights schedule or monsoon rains timings.

Normally, monsoon rains begin from middle of July and continue till August and sometimes beyond August. The Hajj flight operation would start in the last week of July and end in August. The month-long flight operations would conclude a day or two before Hajj and Eidul Azha also falls in the last week of August. It means quite a good number of intending Hajj pilgrims might exercise their right of casting vote in July as compared to August.

Hardly a flight or two may depart before July 25, the day of polling, while in case of delaying the election till August the situation would be the other way round as most of the pilgrims would be in Saudi Arabia and the election would have been conducted by the time of their return.

Adopting such a controversial resolution at a time when the democratic process has been put on track may create doubts about the bid to strengthen the forces working for destabilising democracy. The move also shows the weakness and political immaturity of the outgoing set-up of Balochistan that was installed by toppling a majority government.

Any attempt to delay polls or put hurdles in the way of democratic institutions might destabilise the country and push the nation towards uncertainty instead of bringing positive results.

Promotion of inexperienced and non-serious elements as politicians would serve no purpose except leading the nation towards anarchy and polarisation of the society.

However, it is a good omen that the Election Commission has affirmed holding of timely general election and discouraging the tactics to sabotage or delay the polls.

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