- Says ECP saved Pakistan from massive constitutional crisis
Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb said on Thursday that Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) decision to postpone provincial elections of Punjab was in the interest of Pakistan.
In a statement, she said that “the Election Commission took the decision keeping in mind the economic, political and security situation”.
According to her, the ECP saved the country from a massive constitutional crisis and delay in election will steer political stability in the country.
Marriyum maintained that under Article 218 of the Constitution, the ECP was liable to ensure transparent, impartial and fair elections.
“Article 224 required that at the time of elections, caretaker governments should be established at the federal and provincial level,” she maintained.
The minister stated that the ECP took the decision after holding consultations with all stakeholders.
“There were reservations that because of one man’s ego, elections were being forced on two provinces,” she said.
If elections in two provinces were held on April 30, it would have created a controversy as the terms of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assemblies would have ended six months before National Assembly and other two provincial assemblies, she said.
“Census is being conducted in the country and it is not possible to hold elections in two provinces before it completion and in other provinces after its completion.
Castigating Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan, she said that the constitution cannot act on the whims of one person who could violate it anytime, dissolve the assembly whenever he wanted.
Imran instigated his followers to injure law enforcement agencies personnel, attack the ECP and storm the court premises, Marriyum stressed.
She said one person could not dictate when the election should be held, and when the decisions should be made.
On Wednesday, the ECP postponed Punjab elections till October 8, saying that a new schedule will be issued in due course of time.
In the order, the ECP said that in the exercise of the powers conferred upon it by Article 218(3) read with Section 58 and Section 8(c) of the Elections Act, 2017, the commission “hereby withdraws the election program […], and fresh schedule will be issued in due course of time with the poll date on October 8”.
Earlier, ECP had announced to hold polls for the dissolved assembly of Punjab on April 30.
Commenting on the development, Imran said that the ECP’s decision to postpone elections was a blatant violation of the Constitution.
“Today, everyone must stand behind the legal community - the judiciary and lawyers - with the expectation that they will protect Constitution. If this is accepted today, then it is the end of the rule of law in Pakistan,” he said in a tweet.