Shahid Khaqan Abbasi: Elections could be expected in February or March

Shahid Khaqan Abbasi

ISLAMABAD: Senior leader of Pakistan Muslim League- Nawaz (PML-N) and former Prime Minister (PM) Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said that only he Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) holds the crucial responsibility of ensuring fair and transparent elections in the country.

During the programme Newsline with Dr Maria Zulfiqar Khan on Hum News, Abbasi discussed the timeline for upcoming elections after the redrawing of constituency boundaries. He indicated that the ECP would require time for this process, and he expected elections to take place from February to March.

Responding to concerns raised by lawyer associations about the constitutional implications of delayed elections, Abbasi said that while protests were a right, the question was whether such protests would result in timely elections. He emphasised the importance of understanding that delimitation processes, particularly at the provincial level, required time and precision.

“The authority to conduct elections does not lie with any specific party or government; it is the Election Commission’s role to establish the election schedule to dispel uncertainties,” Abbasi added.

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Meanwhile, regarding the caretaker government’s role, he stressed that it should remain neutral, with an anticipated tenure of 5 to 6 months. Abbasi urged the Election Commission to step forward during the caretaker government’s term to address any ambiguities.

When asked about the Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) stance on elections, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said: “Their recent statements appear more like a calculated ‘political strategy’ than an afterthought. They were present at the Council of Common Interests (CCI) meetings and have right to use political maneuvers”.

Abbasi further pointed out that over the years, various political parties had taken turns governing Pakistan. He questioned whether any of them had significantly improved the economy. He believed that it was crucial for all parties to unite for the nation’s progress, acknowledging the necessity for stakeholders to come together and address past failures.

When asked about the reasons for past inaction, Abbasi said: “I attribute the current unfortunate state of affairs to the consequences of manipulated elections. A single party was brought to power and when you come “selectively” you don’t have a moral authority to rule a nation”.

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