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Pakistan to finally hold polls on February 8, if not ‘delayed’ more

Attorney General for Pakistan Mansoor Usman Awan (right) and Chief Election Commissioner Sikander Sultan Raja (middle) called on President Arif Alvi on Thursday.

The Election Commission of Pakistan, on Thursday, announced that much-awaited elections will be held on Feb 8, 2024. Though the commission had not made it clear that provincial elections also be held on the same day, but it’s been tradition in the country that both are held simultaneously.

Major political parties have welcomed the announcement of the general elections’ date and hailed it as a ‘positive development’.

Jailed Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI), which had been the most vocal in demand for the date, welcomed the ECP’s announcement.

Party’s Senator Syed Ali Zafar also hoped that the elections would not be further delayed.

Information Secretary Raoof Hasan, in a statement shared on social media, welcomed the Supreme Court’s order to the chief election commissioner to meet the president and decide the date. However, he added that mere order “was not enough”.

The PPP, PML-N, MQM-P and other parties have also hailed the ECP’s decision.

“PML-N is the only party ready for elections as we are the first one to invite applications from Nov 1,” party’s spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb, told Dawn.

She added that PML-N had constituted an election cell, a manifesto committee and parliamentary boards in poll preparations.

PML-N leader Irfan Siddiqui told Geo News that the ECP announcement will ensure stability in the country.

“I welcome this development even more because the announcement came from the Supreme Court, which has increased its sanctity,” the PML-N leader said while referring to the earlier proceedings in the apex court.

He said it would be difficult for the ECP to backtrack on this date since the poll date was shared with the country’s top court.

“We believe that elections will take on time,” he added.

PPP’s Nayyer Bukhari has said that his party has been calling for holding timely elections.

Talking to Geo News, the PPP leader, however, added that elections should have been held within 90 days as per the Constitution.

“Unelected individuals or cabinet do not have the right to rule the country…”

Mr Bukhari said the ECP was answerable to the people and the Supreme Court for not holding elections within the 90-day constitutional limit.

MQM-P’s Aminul Haque said democratic traditions should be taken forward, and for that, free and fair elections must be held, Geo News reported.