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As the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) consults the political parties for a consensus on general elections, PPP and PML-N, the two allied parties in the previous Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) led government, were seen not on same page over the polls.

On Friday, Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) backed the ECP decision to go for fresh delimitation based on new census, knowing that the process could cause a delay in elections.

However, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) emphasised on timely elections, within 90 days, saying the polls should not be delayed on the pretext of new delimitation.

“There is no need to unnecessarily take the country towards a political and constitutional crisis,” PPP leader Sherry Rehman said, while addressing a press conference after the meeting of the PPP’s central executive committee.

A PPP delegation will meet the ECP chief on August 29, in which as per Rehman, they will put the same demands as discussed in Friday’s meeting.

Meanwhile, a delegation of PML-N on Friday met Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikander Sultan Raja and other ECP officials on an invitation by the ECP for consultation on elections.

The delegation put forward the party’s stance of having general elections on the basis on new delimitation. It also backed the delimitation schedule issued by the election watchdog, according to the ECP.

PTI seeks general elections within 90 days ‘at all costs’

In consultation with the Election Commission of Pakistan, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has asked the election watchdog to hold general elections within ninety days “to prevent a further constitutional crisis”.

On an invitation sent by the ECP for consultation on elections, a delegation of PTI met Chief Election Commissioner of Pakistan Sikander Sultan Raja on Thursday and presented their demand to hold elections in the country within the stipulated time of 90 days after the dissolution of the national assembly “at all costs.”

The delegation presented a letter written by Omar Ayub Khan, Secretary General Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, comprising of the party’s position over the elections.

“I hope that in this meeting, our team will have told you of our position that national elections must happen at all costs within the stipulated time of 90 days to prevent a further constitutional crisis,” the PTI secretary general wrote in the letter, which was also shared on microblogging platform X (formerly Twitter).

Delay in general elections

General elections in Pakistan, due to take place this year, are feared to be delayed by many months, after the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) announced launching of fresh delimitation of constituencies in accordance with the results of digital population census 2023.

Earlier this month, the Council of Common Interests (CCI) approved the first-ever digital Population and Housing Census 2023. A meeting of the CCI was convened by then prime minister Shehbaz Sharif to decide on the fate of the census in 2023 amid reports of divisions among coalition partners.

The approval aroused fears of an inevitable delay in elections as ECP will be required some time to re-do the delimitation exercise.

It is pertinent to mention that elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are already witnessing inordinate delay – keeping in view that both the provincial legislatures were dissolved in January this year and respective caretaker governments have since been running the affairs of the two provinces.

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