Holding polls in Punjab can be difficult as operation against militants underway, IG tells ECP
- Punjab Inspector General (IG) Dr Usman Anwar says it would be difficult to hold the provincial assembly elections till the operation was over
Punjab Inspector General (IG) Dr Usman Anwar on Wednesday informed the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) that it would be a “difficult task” to hold elections in the province until the ongoing police operation against militants is completed.
Last week, Punjab Police foiled a terrorist attack on Makerwal police station in the Isakkhel district of Mianwali.
Following the incident, the Punjab police launched a major counterterrorism operation in the highly complex and inaccessible hilly areas of the Mianwali district.
During the meeting with ECP, the Punjab IG said that a police operation was underway in some districts which would be completed in four to five months.
He said it would be difficult to hold the provincial assembly elections till the operation was over.
The development comes hours after President Arif Alvi asked the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to release the schedule for polls in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Punjab in accordance with the Constitution.
As per the Constitution of Pakistan, elections have to be held within 90 days of the dissolution of provincial assemblies.
In a letter, Alvi stated that the Constitution did not permit a delay in elections and that “postponing provincial polls will translate to going against the Constitution.”
“The schedule of elections should be released immediately. This will also end the ongoing propaganda against ECP,” he wrote.
In the letter, Alvi also wrote that “the conduct and holding of elections is the primary and essential duty of ECP as per PART VIII of the Constitution- in particular, Article 218 (3) casts a duty on the ECP to ensure holding of a fair and free election.”
Thus, it is ultimately the Commission, which if it fails to discharge its functions and duties, is to be held responsible and answerable for the violation of our Constitution.“
He went on to say that one of the oldest democracies of the current era, the United States of America is strong because it has never delayed elections.
“I am of the firm view that there are no such circumstances as may furnish any justification for delaying or postponing of elections, in fact if such postponements of constitutionally mandated elections are evaluated throughout the world in recent history, they have morphed into serious long term set-backs to democracy.”
He also noted that the ECP had already taken an appropriate constitutional step and announced the holding of by-elections of National Assembly seats of various differently situated constituencies.
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