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ISLAMABAD: British High Commissioner to Pakistan Jane Marriott and Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja have agreed that it is crucial that Pakistan sees free, credible, transparent and inclusive elections in line with the law.“

“Important introductory meeting with Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja at @ECP_Pakistan today. We agreed that it’s crucial the country sees free, credible, transparent and inclusive elections in line with the law,” the diplomat wrote on social media platform X (formerly) Twitter on Wednesday.

The same day, President Alvi wrote a letter to CEC in which he recommended November 6 as the date for the general polls in the country.

US envoy meets CEC ahead of elections

Last month, the United States Ambassador to Pakistan Donald Blome met the CEC to reaffirm the US support “for free and fair elections— in accordance with Pakistan’s laws and constitution.”

“The ambassador reiterated that choosing Pakistan’s future leaders is for the Pakistani people to decide, and that the United States remains committed to working to broaden and deepen the US–Pakistan relationship with whomever the Pakistani people choose,” a US embassy spokesperson said after this meeting.

These meetings have been held at a time when general elections may likely see an inordinate delay following the apparent failure of the ECP to ensure their timely conduct.

The mainstream political parties including Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), Balochistan National Party (BNP), Awami National Party (ANP) and others have lambasted the ECP for its failure in announcing general elections’ date within the constitutionally-mandated 90-day period and issuing the related electoral schedule.

Last month, the ECP drew the ire of public and political circles for “unilaterally” deciding to launch the delimitation of constituencies of the assemblies on August 17— without taking any political party on board.

The commission then invited the political parties for holding separate meetings with the electoral body’s management to discuss issues related to the general polls including elections’ schedule, date and delimitation.

The delimitation exercise was originally scheduled to be completed on December 14 but the commission revised this date to November 30 after holding meetings with political parties.

The National Assembly was dissolved on the last month’s 9th— whereas general polls are required to be held not later than November 7 this year, within the 90-day period mandated by the constitution.

Sindh and Balochistan legislatures were also dissolved last month.

The general 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 are since running the affairs of the two provinces.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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Anonymous Sep 14, 2023 09:44am
Actually, the meeting was only to fade the after effects of Donald Blooms meeting with CEC. Is it the practice in west as well? Specially when people have distrust in system, is it the way to restore the people trust in system or its jeopardizing it further? Till date USA is investigating Russian involvement in last election via influencing social media and here they are meeting to give CEC tips for fair elections.
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Bilal Arshad Deo Sep 14, 2023 10:56am
Munshee is the one who always work for someone in commercial interest. Just for own job he could damage whole nation even. This goracracy is real hurdle in Pakistan's free growth and public interest this system should be abolished once for all
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Parvez Sep 14, 2023 10:59am
He meets the US ambassador and the British Council General.....but refuses to meet the President of Pakistan.
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Dexter Sep 14, 2023 01:04pm
@Parvez, this is the real issue. How can the world respect us, when we don't even respect our ownselves. The CEC refuses to meet the President of the country, while has time to call upon his foreign lords.
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