Is the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) sensing something? It seems it has. The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz ( PML-N) is not raising much hue and cry over early elections; the Jamiat-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) is not very vocal either, while the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) has other issues to settle at the moment. The rest of the parties have gone into a deep slumber. Therefore it is just the PPP which at the moment is the most vocal when it comes to demanding holding of elections at the earliest. None of the other parties has been loud enough the way the PPP is.
The JUI-F speaks out once in a blue moon but then adopts a long silence. The PML-N, on the other hand, is more focused on their supreme leader Nawaz Sharif’s return to the country than the elections. The JUI-F, meanwhile, is facing problems of its own. Once again it has been targeted, leaving a number of its party men, including senior leader Maulana Hamdullah injured. The party is being targeted right in its stronghold.
The PPP leadership, on the other hand, has a number of concerns over the present state of affairs, and it has been quite vocal about it. It has expressed concerns over the inclusion of certain individuals in the caretaker cabinet who have a leaning towards the PML-N. Besides, the party is not happy with the Election Commission of Pakistan ( ECP) for placing a ban on development projects in Sindh as well as the delay in the announcement of a date for general elections.
PPP chairman and former foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has claimed that a level playing field did not exist for political parties in the run-up to the polls. So adamant is Bilawal on holding of early polls that he has even rejected his father and party’s co-chairman, Asif Ali Zardari’s statement that the polls could be delayed until fresh delimitations were completed. The party chairman has been insisting on the ECP to hold elections within 90 days as per the constitutional limit. The PPP appears to be on the same page with the PTI when it comes to holding of elections.
Recently even President Arif Alvi, who is on an extended term of his presidential office, had proposed polls by November 6. But the ECP is not paying much heed in this regard and is more keen on holding polls sometime next year. On the other hand, the PPP leaders are more in unison with Bilawal than Asif Zardari. They are putting their weight behind the former foreign minister in his demand to hold early polls. Majority is supporting his aggressive tone and was ready to toe the “same line of true and just politics” and take their stance to the election campaign.
The ECP needs to announce a date for the polls. The country has to be put on a path of economic recovery, which only an elected government can do.
The caretakers need to do what they have been mandated to do. Hold early and transparent elections.