The ruling Pakistan Democratic Movement and the opposition Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) have reached an agreement to hold national elections on the same date, which is a welcome step.
The third session of discussions between the two parties, held at the Parliament House in Islamabad on Tuesday evening, aimed at breaking the impasse over when to hold general elections.
The government’s chief negotiator, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, recently told the media that an agreement had not been reached on when the next general election should be held.
However, he did confirm that all parties had settled on holding the elections at the same time nationwide. He added that both sides had demonstrated a willingness to compromise.
“Hopefully if they proceed with sincerity, the next phase will be passed successfully,” the finance czar added.
His group included Senator Ali Zafar and Foreign Minister Fawad Chaudhary, and they met with Shah Mehmood Qureshi in the Parliament House in Islamabad.
Finance Minister Dar, Law Minister Senator Azam Nazir Tarar, Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique, Commerce Minister Naveed Qamar, National Food Security and Research Minister Tariq Bashir Cheema, and Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan Secretary General Kishwar Zahra made up the government team.
PTI tells its stance about holding elections
Qureshi told reporters that the PDM is pushing for simultaneous elections and that the Supreme Court has urged political parties to be flexible when deciding when to hold elections.
Even if “no breakthrough” was achieved, the two sides have mutually agreed to avoid violating the Constitution by seeking a compromise, the former foreign minister said.
According to Qureshi, the PTI delegation has recommended modifying the Constitution to allow for simultaneous elections after the 90 days that have elapsed after the assembly was dissolved. This is because the Supreme Court’s ruling is consistent with the law.
The PTI reportedly suggested in a document that the polls be held between Eid ul Adha and the holy month of Muharram, which this year will occur in July and August, according to local news’ sources.
“The elections can also be held in the second or third weeks of August,” the PTI manifesto said. Both sides have decided to begin conversations with their senior leadership regarding the upcoming elections, and the party will soon submit its proposal to the Supreme Court for review.
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