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Pakistan’s President to announce election date: law minister

Reiterates government’s pledge to hold elections on time

Gulf News

Karachi: Pakistan’s law minister Farooq H. Naek on Saturday reiterated the government’s pledge to hold elections in the country on schedule. He added that the president would announce the date of the elections to kick-start the election process in the country.

Pakistan’s constitution is silent as to who will announce the date of the election but it was a general consensus that the president of Pakistan has that mandate and will announce the date soon.

“After the announcement of the date by the president the Election Commission of Pakistan would announce the detailed schedule and would take over the onward process,” Naek told the media.

He reiterated the government’s pledge to hold elections on time despite the attempts of some elements to postpone the election or derail the democratic process.

Naiq was delivering his speech in this city where he was invited by the Karachi Bar Association, the representative body of senior lawyers.

“There are some elements who want to postpone the elections and conspire for the derailment of the democratic process in the country,” Naek told the audience at the bar conference hall.

He added that all three pillars of the state, the parliament, executive and the judiciary were sovereign and independent under the constitution and none of them was supposed to encroach on the limits of the other.

“They should work with their own constitutionally stipulated limits,” he said.

Prone to many conspiracy theories, rumours abound in the country that the elections might be put on hold under the current circumstances. The worsening law and order situation in Karachi forms the basis of such rumours.

“Despite all the desires of such elements the government is committed to hold the elections on time and this would be first time in the history of Pakistan,” the law minister said.

On March 16, the present government will complete its term that will be a maiden completion of any democratically elected government in the 66-year checkered history of Pakistan, where the military has staged three coups.

Naek said that it would be the first time that the Pakistan Election Commission has become a sovereign institution and it would hold the election in a transparent and impartial way. In the past the sitting government would chose the chief of the commissioner of its own liking and the defeated parties always accused the government of rigging the polls.

The law minister donated a sum of 15 million rupees (Dh0.56 million) to the bar and held out to provide a supplementary grant of five million rupees and two buses for its lawyers.