- Says the President has no role in the matter
Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar said on Sunday that deciding the date for general elections was the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) prerogative.
He made these remarks during an exclusive interview with Geo News program ‘Jirga’.
When asked about the ambiguity on whether the authority to decide and announce the poll date rested with the president or the ECP, he said that the ECP is the only body empowered to hold elections in the country and that the president has no role in the matter.
The issue came to light after resident Dr Arif Alvi invited Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja last month for a meeting to “fix an appropriate date” for general elections.
“The ECP is an independent body and will decide the election date by the law,” Kakar said.
This was after the ECP expressed its inability to hold elections within the constitutionally mandated period following the notification of the latest 2023 digital census, citing the need for fresh delimitation of constituencies under Section 17(2) of the Elections Act.
PM Kakar said that the ECP is currently delimitating constituencies and will announce the election date once the process is completed.
He also said that the government will provide all necessary support to the ECP to ensure that the elections are free, fair, and transparent.
PM promises to address power crisis
Regarding the ongoing power crisis in the country, PM Kakar said that the government will soon implement measures to conserve energy.
He said that the only thing holding up the plan was the need for an agreement with the provinces.
Kakar spoke to the media on Monday when he was asked about the recent increase in power bills and the consequent mass protests.
He said that the government was constrained by its commitments to multilateral international financial institutions but was also aware of the burden the power crisis was placing on the people.
He said that his financial and power teams were working on short-term solutions to the crisis and hoped to have some news soon.
Kakar also clarified his recent comments in which he was downplaying the protests. He said that he had not used the words “wheel, jam and strike,” and that he only disagreed with the analysis that the protests would lead to a civil war.
He said that he understood that the social class was under immense burden and that the government was committed to addressing the issue.
Kakar said that the energy crisis was a complex problem with no easy solution. However, he promised that the government would do everything it could to alleviate the burden on the people.