Pak Senate Debates Delay for Feb 8 Polls

Resolution to Delay General Election in Pakistan Faces Opposition

A resolution seeking a delay in the February 8 general election was moved in Pakistan’s Senate on Sunday, two days after a similar resolution was submitted in the Parliament’s upper house. The resolution, the third of its kind to be moved in the Senate, cited cold weather and security concerns for the postponement of the elections, Geo News reported.

Challenges Cited for Postponing Election

Tabled by independent Senator Hilal-ur-Rehman, the resolution said that extreme cold weather and snowfall would create difficulties for citizens to cast votes in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and create challenges for candidates trying to campaign. “In the same way, due to security concerns in the country, especially in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, candidates are facing threats of terrorist attacks while campaigning,” it said.

Obstacles and Opposition

The resolution added that the security issue was also creating obstacles and limiting the participation of candidates in their campaigns, the Dawn newspaper reported. The resolution claimed that due to the increasing “sense of deprivation” and the fear of the province’s citizens being left out of the electoral process, the date announced for the general election was “unsuitable” for the province, the report said.

Pushback and Rejections

The resolution comes in the wake of similar opposition from major political parties and the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP). The ECP rejected the Senate’s resolution and clarified that elections will be held on February 8, 2024. It was passed with only 14 lawmakers out of the Senate’s 100 members in attendance. Major political parties also rejected the non-binding resolution, stating that further deferring the electoral process would be “unconstitutional”.

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Efforts for Timely Polls

Meanwhile, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) unanimously filed a requisition on Thursday for the Senate session for timely polls. The requisition contends that Pakistan cannot afford political uncertainty; therefore, to strengthen the democratic process and under Article 224 (2) of the Constitution, the general elections should have been held within 90 days.

Conclusion

The resolution seeking a delay in the general election in Pakistan is facing opposition from major political parties and the Election Commission. Despite concerns about weather and security, the push for a postponement is met with resistance, with efforts being made to ensure timely and constitutional polls.


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