Karachi: Former foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari called for prompt elections in cash-strapped Pakistan within 120 days, if not possible in the constitutionally mandated 90-day period, a media report said Friday.
General elections are scheduled to be held in Pakistan within 90 days after the dissolution of the National Assembly, which was prematurely dissolved August 9.
Speaking to the media here, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman said that his party was ready to participate in the upcoming general elections, The Express Tribune newspaper reported.
“Elections must be held promptly, either within 90 days or, if not, within 120 days,” Bilawal was quoted as saying.
The PPP has opposed any delay in the general elections after the Shehbaz Sharif-led coalition government completed its tenure last month.
His statement comes a week after Pakistan’s election commission announced that the delimitation of constituencies will be finalised by November 30, to ensure polls are held “as soon as possible”.
The previous government in which the PPP was a coalition partner had announced just days before the end of its term that the elections could take place only after a new census was completed and new constituency boundaries were drawn.
The move triggered fears that the polls meant to be held within 90 days may be delayed till next year as the delimitation process would take about four months to complete.
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) said a date for the elections will be announced keeping in view the schedule for the delimitation process.
Quoting sources, the report said that President Arif Alvi was considering announcing the date for the general elections, adding that he might reveal the date after completing consultations with his legal advisors.
President Alvi is expected to send a letter to the ECP, proposing a date in November for the elections, the report said.
Making a veiled reference to jailed former prime minister and chairman of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party Imran Khan, Bilawal said that the puppets imposed on the country had attacked sensitive military installations on May 9, the Dawn newspaper reported. He added that those who participated in the attacks had to be taught a lesson so that no one could think of repeating the same in the future.
“The practice of imposing a puppet on this nation must stop. We want to put an end to such experiments and let the people decide. If the people of Pakistan choose the PPP, everyone should accept that,” he said.
“You have never been a politician. You’re undergoing training. You only emerged as a puppet,” he said, referring to Khan.
Following the arrest of Khan by paramilitary Rangers, unrest broke out in Pakistan May 9 that saw the torching and vandalising of dozens of military and state buildings, including the Army headquarters in Rawalpindi and the ISI building in Faisalabad.
Police arrested over 10,000 workers of PTI, and over 100 are being tried under the Army Act.