Senate Resolution for Election Postponement Overruled by ECP’s Firm Stance

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has firmly stated that the general elections scheduled for February 8, 2024, cannot be postponed. This declaration comes as a response to a Senate resolution passed on January 5, which called for a delay due to harsh winter conditions and security concerns. The ECP emphasized that it has made a commitment to the Supreme Court to conduct the elections on the specified date and that all necessary arrangements have been finalized.

In a recent statement, the ECP addressed the Senate’s resolution, which was moved by Senator Dilawar Khan and passed with minimal attendance. The resolution pointed to the challenging weather in hilly regions and a deteriorating security situation as justifications for postponing the elections. However, the ECP has countered these concerns by noting that caretaker governments have been instructed to enhance the security matrix and ensure a safe environment for voters.

The ECP also reminded that it is not unprecedented to hold elections during the winter season, as both general and local government polls have taken place in colder months in the past. Despite the Senate’s resolution and the push from Senator Dilawar Khan for its implementation, the ECP remains resolute in its decision to proceed with the elections as planned.

Senator Khan, who initiated the resolution, has expressed disappointment with the ECP’s lack of action to postpone the elections. He believes that addressing the issues outlined in the resolution is crucial for conducting free and fair elections. Senator Khan has called upon Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani to take swift action to ensure the postponement, emphasizing the importance of inclusive participation from all regions and political groups in the electoral process.

Following Senator Khan’s resolution, Senators Hidayat Ullah and Hilal-ur-Rehman submitted additional resolutions to the Senate secretariat, also citing the cold weather and security concerns as reasons to delay the elections. Despite these efforts, the general elections remain scheduled for February 8, with all political parties and independent candidates having received their electoral symbols.

The Supreme Court’s recent decision to overturn the Lahore High Court’s ruling on suspending the appointment of returning officers has removed any lingering uncertainty about the elections. Nonetheless, Maulana Fazlur Rehman of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F) has also advocated for a delay, citing an increase in terrorist activities, particularly in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) region.

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