Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah addresses a press conference in Faisalabad, on April 22, 2023, in this still taken from a video. — YouTube/GeoNews

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Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah addresses a press conference in Faisalabad, on April 22, 2023, in this still taken from a video. — YouTube/GeoNews
  • Sanaullah says no one to accept results if elections held on May 14.
  • “It seems impossible to hold elections in the next few days,” he says.
  • Interior minister wants Supreme Court to issue unanimous verdict.

Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah reiterated Saturday that he does not see elections to the Punjab Assembly taking place on May 14 — the date that Supreme Court fixed had fixed for the polls.

In a press conference in Faisalabad, the interior minister said that even if the polls were held on May 14, no one would accept the results, as he termed the apex court’s decision of political parties reaching a consensus over the election date “absurd”.

In the ongoing case related to the Punjab polls, all political parties — from government and opposition — have assured the apex court that they would discuss the issue on April 26 and inform the court the next day.

“How good would it be if all the 15 judges of the Supreme Court sit down together and issue a unanimous verdict,” the interior minister said, hinting at the apex court’s apparent internal division.

Defending his statement, Sanaullah said critical institutions — the army, the judiciary, and the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) — were not ready for the May polls.

“Given the country’s present situation, it seems impossible to hold elections in the next few days,” the interior minister said, voicing his government’s concerns about holding the polls seperately.

Raising his objections to the SC’s three-member verdict passed on April 4, Sanaullah said it has been marred with so “many controversies that voices of dissent are rising from within [the court]”.

The minister added that his party — the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz — has never sought to escape from elections, but has adopted a “principled” stance that polls across the country should be held simultaneously.

“If Punjab’s elections are held first, won’t they affect the general elections? The Constitution also mentions holding polls on the same day,” the interior minister reminded the judiciary, reiterating that if elections aren’t held simultaneously, then the political forces might not accept the results.

In line with the SC’s orders, the minister said all political parties should sit at the negotiating table and decide a day for the elections, noting that the government is ready for talks.

He mentioned that Pakistan Democratic Movement — the ruling alliance in the centre — formed a committee to hold negotiations with the Imran Khan-led PTI and that the rulers are looking forward to the April 26 moot.

But at the same time, he noted that the PTI chairman was not a person who would be willing to engage in talks and said that such an attitude would push the nation towards a disaster.

Criticising the top court for halting the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Act 2023 — the legislation which curtails the chief justice’s powers to take suo motu notice and form benches — before it became a law, Sanaullah termed the SC’s move against the Constitution.

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