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EditorialShould we expect elections by November?

Should we expect elections by November?

Elections would be held before the end of this year. Well, so does it seem. Khurram Dastgir, the minister for power, in a recent talk show, gave a clear indication that the nation should expect to go to vote in the general elections by November 10 of this year.

There were no ‘ifs’ or ‘buts’.

He said: “I fully expect and hope that even if the prime minister chooses to dissolve the [National] Assembly a day or two before — the maximum we can go up to is Nov 10 — the people of Pakistan should be fully expectant of voting in their new government on or before Nov 10.”

He also made it clear that the Parliament would dissolve by itself on August 12. For over a year, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf ( PTI) chairman Imran Khan had been demanding immediate elections, and he employed all pressure tactics to make the incumbent government announce polls.

But, all his efforts proved futile. Ever since dissolving the Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assemblies, the PTI had been hoping that elections in the two provinces would be held after the required period. But, it seemed as if the caretaker setups were here to stay for a long haul.

The way the caretaker provincial governments were calling the shots, nowhere did it seem that they were here for 90 days, with the intent of holding polls. One would hear various theories about elections. There was a buzz that a technocrat government would be set up for a year and some said the current government would go for an extension.

Due to the ongoing political and economic uncertainty, talk about holding of elections had taken a back seat. There was indecisiveness on the part of the government.

The fate of the elections hung in balance, which otherwise were due in October after the completion of the PDM government’s term on August 13. About the polls, Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb had maintained that the PML-N and its allied parties were of the view that they would hold elections when the Election Commission of Pakistan gave a date after the completion of the incumbent government’s tenure in August.

“It is the responsibility of the ECP to give the election date,” she had said.

On the other hand, every coalition party in the government had its own take on the polls. Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari had stated that the elections would only be held with his nod, whereas Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman expressed his doubts about polls being held in October.

Another PPP leader and former Punjab governor Makhdoom Ahmad Mahmood had said that after completion of the tenure of the incumbent federal government, the caretaker setup might prolong for at least six months if it performed well economically.

Elections should be held on time to bring both political and economic stability. A stable government can negotiate with the international powers to pull the country out of the quagmire.

Delaying elections would serve no purpose.

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