- Fawad Chaudhry says the ECP decided to hold polls under media pressure.
- Says the ECP pressed ahead with the decision despite the government’s unwillingness to hold elections.
- Says extreme unpopularity of the incumbent government has affected the establishment negatively.
Senior Vice-President PTI Fawad Chaudhry said that the Election Commission Pakistan (ECP) decided to hold by-elections under pressure.
In a statement on Tuesday, the PTI leader said it was due to media pressure that the election commission decided to hold by-elections and local body elections.
Fawad said that despite the fact that the government was not willing to conduct by-polls and local government elections, the ECP decided to hold the elections.
The PTI leader’s remarks come hours after the ECP announced it would convene by-polls and Karachi’s local body elections on their respective dates.
Issuing a statement on Tuesday [October 11], the ECP said the by-elections for the national and provincial assemblies’ seats will take place on October 16 and the second phase of Karachi’s local body elections will also go as scheduled for October 23.
Both elections are behind schedule. Accordingly, the commission refused the requests seeking to postpone the polls.
However, the ECP has delayed the by-election in the NA-45 constituency, citing security concerns.
In a separate statement, the PTI leader said the establishment in Pakistan has never been as unpopular as it is today. As long as it [the establishment] supported the PTI government, it was popular, he asserted.
The increasing unpopularity of the incumbent government has also drowned the establishment, Fawad said.
As the government stands on the shoulders of the establishment, it cannot operate in this manner, he said, adding that the establishment is also suffering in the process.
The ECP meeting, chaired by Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja, decided to hold the election even after the federal and Sindh governments expressed reservations due to a lack of security personnel, among other reasons.
The meeting took place just days after the federal government had asked the commission to delay the October 16 by-elections for at least 90 days as a “political party” was planning to “besiege” the capital later this month.
PTI Chairman Imran Khan has announced he will hold his “Azadi March” in the capital and has started mobilising his party. The ex-prime minister has held several meetings and organised rallies at different points in the country in the lead-up to the march.
The by-elections were originally scheduled to be held during September, but the ECP put them off, citing the unavailability of security personnel in the wake of catastrophic floods — that have left over 1,700 dead.