Current Affairs

PPP Chairman Bilawal Differs with Father Zardari on Election Date

The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman, Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, has distanced his party from his father, former President Asif Ali Zardari’s statement supporting the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in conducting polls after the completion of constituency delimitation. This development emerged after PPP Co-chairman Zardari expressed full confidence in the ECP, emphasizing the necessity of fresh delimitation under the 2023 census.

However, during a central executive committee (CEC) meeting held on August 25, the PPP demanded that elections be held within the constitutionally mandated 90-day period following the dissolution of the assemblies.

During a press conference in Badin, Bilawal was questioned about the differences in his and Zardari’s stances on elections. He advised the reporter to inquire about his father’s statement, reiterating that the PPP’s CEC meeting had considered both opinions. Legal experts within the party stated that the Constitution clearly requires elections to be conducted within 90 days of assembly dissolution.

Bilawal emphasized that while he follows President Zardari on family matters, political matters, the Constitution, and party policy are guided by the decisions of his workers and the party’s central executive committee.

Zardari’s statement, shared by the PPP on social media, reiterated the ECP’s mandate to conduct elections in accordance with the Constitution. This followed calls from various PPP leaders, including Bilawal, urging the ECP to announce the election date and adhere to the constitutional requirement of holding elections within 90 days.

Amidst uncertainty about the election date, the Shehbaz Sharif-led government dissolved the National Assembly on August 9. Sindh and Balochistan assemblies were also dissolved prematurely to allow the ECP to hold elections within 90 days, instead of the usual 60 days following the completion of the assembly’s constitutional tenure.

However, the ECP may face challenges in meeting this timeline due to the Council of Common Interest (CCI) approving the 7th Population and Housing Census 2023 just days before the assembly dissolution. According to Article 51 (5) of the Constitution, seats in the National Assembly must be allocated based on population, following the last published census.

Consequently, on August 17, the ECP announced the schedule for new delimitations based on the latest census data, with the new constituency boundaries to be notified in December this year. This schedule implies that fresh delimitation will take approximately four months, potentially extending the general elections beyond the 90-day constitutional period following assembly dissolution.

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