Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on Friday said that his party was ready to participate in the upcoming general elections, emphasising that if the polls cannot be held within 90 days, they should be conducted within 120 days.
His statement comes amidst differing views from the president, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), political parties, and other stakeholders regarding the timeline for holding the general elections and who has the authority to decide the final date of the polls.
Sources had earlier revealed to The Express Tribune that the president was considering announcing the date for the upcoming general elections, adding that he might reveal the date once he has completed consultations with his legal advisors.
It is expected that President Alvi will send a letter to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), proposing a date in November for the elections.
Read more: Vote date should align with spirit of Constitution: Alvi
ECP, on the other hand, has given assurances to hold the polls in mid-February, with the possibility of an even earlier date if the constituency delimitation process is completed sooner.
PPP has been opposing any delay in the general elections after the coalition government completed its tenure last month.
Speaking to the media in Karachi, Bilawal stated that the elections should be held as soon as possible or within 90-day constitutional limit.
He said that former president and PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari has been in politics for over 30 years, enduring the most jail time among all politicians.
“We want to give hope to the politicians who are going through this pain these days… we say to them don’t worry (don’t lose hope),” Bilawal said, quoting a popular phrase used by former prime minister Imran Khan who is imprisoned in Attock District Jail.
Also read: ECP promises mid-February elections
“You have never been a politician. You’re undergoing training. You only emerged as a puppet,” he added, referring to Khan.
Bilawal said that they want to punish those who attacked the Corp Commander House in Lahore and GHQ in Rawalpindi so that such actions are not repeated.
“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 added.
He also stated that other parties are eager for elections after delimitation, questioning ECP over its “dual policy” on the matter. He pointed out that ECP has unlawfully halted development funds and halted relief efforts for flood-affected people.
“We call on the ECP to abolish these restrictions, end the dual system, and stop the suspension of funds in Sindh. If funds are halted in Sindh, they should be halted in other provinces as well.”
Bilawal insisted on the prompt conduct of elections, emphasising, “Elections must be held promptly, either within 90 days or, if not, within 120 days.”
Furthermore, Bilawal dismissed false reports related to NAB raids, saying that no PPP former minister was put on the Exit Control List (ECL).