Upcoming elections to be held on new census, on time, claims PM Shehbaz

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    Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif says that the upcoming general election in the country will be based on the new digital census and dismisses any suggestions of a delay in the polls due to this. He emphasized the importance of holding the elections based on the latest census conducted in 2023. The Prime Minister mentioned that he would call a meeting of the Council of Common Interests (CCI), which includes all provincial chief ministers after the census results are available.

    PM Shehbaz clarified that the responsibility for conducting the elections lies with the Election Commission, and there is no reason for a delay in the polls. He assured that the government’s tenure would be completed on August 12. His statement contradicts the remarks made by Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah during a previous interview, where Sanaullah had indicated that the new census might not be notified, and elections could be held based on the previous census.

    The Prime Minister’s statement has been well-received by his allies, particularly the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P). The MQM-P had expressed concerns about the authenticity of the census results, especially regarding Karachi’s population. They had vowed to resist any move to hold elections based on potentially inaccurate figures.

    Regarding the recent hike in petrol prices, PM Shehbaz explained that it is beyond his control as it depends on international crude oil prices. He mentioned that his Finance Minister, Ishaq Dar, had been working on the issue and had no choice but to increase the prices due to the soaring oil prices in the international market. He stated that it was a condition of the IMF agreement, and subsidies could not be provided except for those mentioned in the budget.

    Earlier in the day, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar had announced a substantial Rs19 per liter increase in petrol and diesel prices, in line with the IMF’s demands. The revised prices came into effect immediately. The government had delayed the announcement to consider the impact of the price hike on the already inflation-weary public.