After PTI Chairman Imran Khan declared his party and allies will resign from the legislature, Federal Minister for Planning, Development, and Special Initiatives Ahsan Iqbal on Sunday ruled out the possibility of general elections in Pakistan before August 2023.
Instead of continuing his long march to Islamabad, the former prime minister stated that his party will soon be resigning from all national assemblies, including those in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, where the party is in power.
“As far as elections are concerned, even PTI knows that early elections aren’t possible in the country as it will take around 6-8 months for rehabilitation works to complete in Sindh and Balochistan – the provinces hit hard by floods,” the minister said while talking to a private news channel.
The government cannot drive the country into early elections, according to Ahsan Iqbal, because this election would involve more than just a district in Mianwali, where Khan comes from.
One-third of Pakistan was submerged in water due to flooding, which also wrecked two million homes and commercial buildings, washed away 7,000 kilometers (4,500 miles) of highways, and brought down 500 bridges. Water is still standing in certain areas of Pakistan.
“Also, in March or April, the results of the new census will be released. The Sindh government and the [people of the] province have a clear stance: next elections will be held on the basis of the new census.”
If the results of the new census are released by March or April, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) will need at least four to five months to delimit the electoral districts before the country can move on to the August elections.
The minister, who was adamantly opposed to holding national elections, said, “This is an administrative and natural timetable that might not change.”
Iqbal made a suggestion that the elections might take place in October because the Constitution requires that they be held within a certain time limit.
The PTI leader was urged by the federal minister to stop engaging in “negative politics,” come back to Parliament and engage in talks with the coalition government.
“Imran Khan should partake in the [meetings of the committee for electoral reforms] if he wants to ensure that the next elections aren’t controversial,” the minister noted.
To read our blog on “Government hopes to finish the digital census before the 2023 elections,” click here.