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EDITORIAL: Rumours that plans were afoot to delay the general election, due at the end of the year, turned out to be true after all.

With at least three senior outgoing ministers expressing doubts about ECP’s (Election Commission of Pakistan’s) ability to deliver the vote on time, considering it would take 3-4 months to complete the new census and draw constituency boundaries, you can be sure that the caretaker setup will remain in charge till at least the first quarter of next year.

This is strange, because the prime minister never explained why he brought this matter to everybody’s attention right at the end of his government’s tenure.

The census and the many conflicts it generated, especially between PPP (Pakistan People’s Party) and MQM (Muttahida Qaumi Movement), were public knowledge for the longest time, and all the while the government assured people that the election would be held on time.

Surely, the government would have known that the census would delay the poll but chose not to share this information till nothing could be done about it. Now the country will witness yet another violation of the constitution as an unelected, unrepresentative administration is forced to take tough decisions in very uncertain times. And its likely cutoff date – around Feb-March next year – is also only a guess.

For those who thought that Punjab and KP (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) provisional setups overstaying the 90-day deadline, mandated by the constitution itself, was bad, what is going to follow will no doubt write a new chapter in the constitutional history of this Islamic republic.

Interestingly, the law ministry threw a novelty into the mix as well. The people were informed, in the very last days of the PDM (Pakistan Democratic Movement) government, that legislation that has always followed a census and delimitations will not be needed this time.

While it is for constitutional experts to verify the validity, or otherwise, of this argument, even if it’s true it would mean that the practice adopted after every census so far might not have been the proper one. So, it would be in everybody’s interest to confirm this fine point as well as formal proceedings of the latest census are completed.

Nobody should have any doubts that this is one of the most fragile moments in the country’s history. It is going into a caretaker setup, for an unknown time period, just when it faces unprecedented political, economic and security-related pressures.

Perhaps things wouldn’t have been quite this uncertain if the political elite had the kind of wisdom that helps cross treacherous paths. But it is clearly more important for most senior political players in all parties to settle personal scores and come out on top even while the country experiences traumas it has not known in the past.

One can only hope that there will be no more surprises in the road to the election. Even as it is, few people really buy the argument that last minute revelations about the census delayed the poll, because such chatter was doing the rounds, especially in the capital, for a rather long time.

Politicians tend to forget that people pay directly for all the mistakes their representatives make in parliament. And since nothing will improve till there is political stability, especially the suffering economy, the people deserve an election and a stable government.

Now that this cat is finally out of the bag, it better be the last one; for the sake of the country and its people.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

Comments

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KU Aug 14, 2023 10:23am
Let's accept it, our fate is in the hands of the unscrupulous, the script has to be followed to benefit the usual suspects. Besides, how many newspapers or lawyers or democracy watchdogs, etc., have come out on the roads or criticized the government during the last year, or will do so now? None. Most of the eyewash is to hide the designs of gluttony and greed, and everyone is on the bandwagon. We have forgotten a historical fact ‘’A kingdom divided cannot stand, a nation divided cannot survive’’.
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AmirSh. Aug 14, 2023 07:05pm
A test for the new caretaker PM. Lets see if PM can shoulder the responsibility and can meet nation's expectations. It is also a high time for PM and Establishment to take right decision keeping nation in the confidence.
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Love Your Country Aug 15, 2023 07:17pm
It's not going to disappear if we choose not to read the writing on the wall.
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Love Your Country Aug 15, 2023 07:21pm
@AmirSh., when did THEY last do the right thing to strengthen the systems especially when it is so easy to place the blame on the politicians.
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TheActualTruth Aug 16, 2023 03:05am
"Politicians tend to forget that people pay directly for all the mistakes their representatives make in parliament" They don't forget, they know perfectly well that it is the people of Pakistan who will pay the price, not them. The political elite including the establishment never face consequences of their decisions that is why they only care about their personal ego, wealth and standing. And once they are done ruling they fly back to their homeland England.
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Sodhi Aug 16, 2023 10:13am
The generals have not learnt any lesson from their previous misadventures...their lust for power is destroying the society and the country!
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