Pakistan caretaker premier urged to hold polls within time frame specified in Constitution
Following hints from electoral body, outgoing ministers that polls could be put off, ex-Premier Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party demands national vote within 90 days
By Aamir Latif
KARACHI, Pakistan (AA) - Pakistan's main political party on Wednesday urged the country's caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar to hold general elections within the time frame specified in the Constitution.
In an open letter to Kakar, who took oath as caretaker prime minister on Monday, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, a former foreign minister and acting chairman of jailed former Prime Minister Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, demanded a national vote within the next 90 days in accordance to the country’s Constitution.
Qureshi's call follows indications from the electoral commission and outgoing ministers that the general election could be postponed for at least four months.
According to the Constitution, if the National Assembly or provincial assemblies are dissolved, fresh polls must be conducted within the next 90 days.
The recent approval of the controversial results of a new nationwide census by the Council of Common Interests (CCI), a constitutional body made up of the prime minister and the chief ministers of all provinces, has made it almost certain that elections will not be held on schedule.
Because of the hurried approval, the ECP will need at least four additional months to notify new constituencies in the country in accordance with the latest census.
In this case, elections cannot be held before February of next year.
"Democracy's foundation is based on the right to vote. There must be no excuse, including the issue of delimitations, to delay elections," Qureshi stated in the letter shared with the media.
Offering his party's support to the caretaker government in holding the national elections on time, he said the PTI intends to challenge the census results' approval in the Supreme Court of Pakistan.
Earlier on Wednesday, the Supreme Court Bar Association filed a petition in the apex court challenging the CCI's decision to approve the census results.
Qureshi also urged Kakar to play a role to stop an alleged crackdown on PTI workers across the country and to provide facilities to the incarcerated party chairman in accordance with jail rules.
Khan, who is currently facing a slew of cases, was sentenced to three-year in jail by an Islamabad court earlier this month in a graft case.
The PTI rejected the court verdict, calling it a "murder of justice."
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