Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb Wednesday said that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had saved the country from a major constitutional crisis by postponing polls in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
In a statement, the minister said that decision had been taken in Pakistan’s interest and would guarantee political stability in the country.
The electoral authority, a day earlier, announced the postponement of elections in Punjab to October 8. The elections were to be held in the province on April 30, after President Arif Alvi — in consultation with the ECP — announced the date in light of the Supreme Court’s split ruling last month.
While quoting its responsibility towards ensuring fair elections in the country, the election organising authority in its notification recounted its various endeavours to ensure its responsibilities.
“The election commission has taken the decision after consulting all stakeholders. The ECP took the decision after considering the economic, political and security situation,” she said.
Aurangzeb said that the commission, under Article 218 of the Constitution, had to ensure transparent, impartial, and fair elections.
On the other hand, she added that Article 224 required that there be caretaker governments in the federal capital and federating units at the time of elections; however, when the National Assembly’s polls take place, governments would be established in two provinces.
The minister claimed that the polls would have become controversial forever had they been held in the two provinces on the aforementioned date.
“If the elections were held on April 30, the assemblies in Punjab and KP would have stood dissolved six months earlier,” the minister said.
Aurangzeb mentioned that the census was ongoing in Pakistan, adding, it was not possible for the polls to be held in Punjab and KP before the census, and later in other provinces.
Censuring Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan, the information minister said the Constitution could not bend to the will of one person’s will.
“He cannot violate the Constitution and dissolve the assembly whenever he wants — this won’t work,” the information minister said.
She slammed Khan for inciting his workers to assault the police, attack the ECP, and vandalise the courts.
“There were reservations that forced elections were being imposed on two provinces to satisfy the ego of one man,” Aurangzeb said.