PM Kakar affirms interim government’s limited role in determining election date
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Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar reiterated on Friday that it is not within the interim government’s mandate to announce the election date.

He had previously made similar statements earlier in the week, emphasizing that the responsibility for determining the election date lies with the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP). Kakar clarified that the caretaker government has no intention of prolonging its tenure.

The concerns surrounding the timing of the elections have arisen due to the ECP’s decision to postpone the elections beyond November 9. This decision is based on the notification of results from the new digital 2023 census and Section 17(2) of the Elections Act, which stipulates that constituency delimitation should occur after each official census is published.

During a press conference held after a high-level meeting at the PM House, PM Kakar once again emphasized that he does not have the authority to declare the election date.

Responding to a question, he pointed out the legal implications of such an action and cautioned against any unlawful acts.

PM Kakar also discussed the government’s efforts to combat cross-border smuggling, emphasizing a zero-tolerance approach towards those involved in this illegal trade.

He mentioned ongoing discussions about the Afghan transit trade agreement and the reopening of the Torkham border. The commerce ministry, in collaboration with border management authorities and customs, has been working to revise trade item policies.

Furthermore, PM Kakar rejected the idea that cracking down on smuggling would negatively impact the livelihoods of local populations in bordering areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan. He stressed the need for legitimate and thriving trade in these provinces, rather than smuggling.

Regarding Afghan refugees involved in cross-border smuggling, Kakar stated that an effective policy had been established.

He categorized Afghan residents in Pakistan into three groups: those registered with the government, those without valid reasons to stay, and those with fraudulent identities. He asserted that those without valid visas would be repatriated to Afghanistan.

PM Kakar also reported “positive news” from all provinces in the past eight to ten days regarding measures taken by their respective administrations against hoarding and smuggling.

He emphasized the importance of enhanced coordination among government officials to maintain law and order.