Islamabad [Pakistan], September 16 (ANI): Pakistan caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar on Friday said that announcing the date for elections was beyond the mandate of the interim government, Pakistan-based Dawn reported.
Addressing a press briefing on Friday after a high-level meeting at the PM House, Kakar once again ruled out the prospect of announcing the election date.
In response to a question, Kakar said,"If I were to announce elections, I would be engaging in an unlawful act, and as a journalist, you should be aware that if you steer us towards illegal actions and pose questions that might tempt us to break the law, then what should my response be?," according to Dawn report. Earlier this week, Anwaarul Haq Kakar made similar remarks when he stated that it was for the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to decide a date. He further said, "We have no intention to prolong the tenure of the caretaker government," according to Dawn report.
Concerns regarding the schedule of polls have been raised after the Election Commission of Pakistan ruled out elections this year. The electoral body has said that the decision to conduct elections beyond November 9 was on the basis of the notification of results of the new digital 2023 census and Section 17(2) of the Elections Act, which states: "The commission shall delimit constituencies after every census is officially published."Speaking at the press conference on Friday, Anwaarul Haq Kakar asserted that an effective management plan was being implemented to curb cross-border smuggling, Dawn reported.
He rejected the notice that a crackdown on smuggling would deprive the local residents along the bordering areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan of their livelihoods. He said that these provinces deserved a legitimate and thriving trade environment and not smuggling.
Earlier this week, Anwaarul Haq Kakar said that the delimitation process is a "constitutional" exercise, Pakistan-based The News International reported. He expressed hope that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) would soon announce the election dates.
In an interview given to a private news channel, the Pakistan caretaker PM reiterated that his government is fully prepared with regard to holding general elections and that the caretaker setup is only there to "assist and support" the electoral body in the polls.
Commenting on the upcoming general elections, PM Kakar said that he hopes that the ECP would thoroughly look into the matter of holding free and fair polls as per the Constitution. Meanwhile, expressing his views on the prerogative to announce the election date, Kakar put his weight behind the ECP.
Kakar said, "The president has announced the polls date, whereas it is in fact the ECP's prerogative." His statement comes after Pakistan President Arif Alvi in a letter on Wednesday suggested the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja to hold the polls on November 6. (ANI)