Home Pakistan Elections not possible in 90 days on new census: minister

Elections not possible in 90 days on new census: minister

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Elections not possible in 90 days on new census: minister

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  • Fresh delimitations will take place if census is notified, minister says.
  • For holding polls timely, they should be held on old census, he says.
  • He says caretaker prime minister to be appointed with consensus.

Minister for Planning, Development, and Special Initiatives Ahsan Iqbal said Tuesday that the 90-day deadline could not be met if elections are held on the basis of the latest census results.

The coalition government has been in a fix as Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) — a key partner in the ruling alliance — has clearly stated that they will not allow elections on old enumeration, raising concerns on timely elections.

However, other parties in the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) were not in agreement with MQM-P and had announced the digital census will not be notified, citing multiple legal hurdles.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif surprised everyone when he said the elections would be held on the basis of the latest census exercise.

This sudden change of mind left everyone looking for the reasons behind the new development.

“….I have already stated that if the new census is approved, then the 90-day limit would be exceeded,” the planning minister said during his appearance on Geo News’ programme “Aaj Shahzeb Khanzada Kay Saath”.

Defending his stance, the minister mentioned that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) will have to begin a fresh delimitation based on the new census — and that will take a few months.

“If we want to enter the 90-day cycle, then we will have to agree to holding the elections based on the old census,” the federal planning minister said.

On the staging of polls, the minister said the ECP is responsible for announcing the dates, not the government — after the election law was tweaked to empower the commission.

Caretaker PM

Once the government’s term ends, a caretaker prime minister will be appointed till new rulers are elected.

The planning minister said the assemblies will be dissolved prematurely and two to three days before the government’s term ends, the name of the caretaker prime minister will be finalised.

“You will see, God willing, the process will be done with consensus.”

Sources, meanwhile, told Geo News that the coalition partners would hold the final round of talks over the appointment of the caretaker premier today.

“The parties will exchange names of their respective candidates,” the sources said, mentioning that after finalising the names with the partners, PM Shehbaz will consult Raja Riaz, the opposition leader in the National Assembly.

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