Joint sitting calls for holding elections simultaneously | The Express Tribune


ISLAMABAD:

The joint session of Parliament on Monday adopted a resolution, stressing for the holding of general elections of the National Assembly and the provincial assemblies in the country simultaneously to strengthen the federation.

The two identical resolutions were moved by Federal Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Murtaza Javed Abbasi and Senator Kamran Murtaza aimed to promote political stability and foster unity among the provinces.

The resolutions called for organising general elections of all the assemblies simultaneously across the country.

The resolutions emphasised the significance of appointing neutral caretaker set-ups to ensure impartiality and fairness during the elections.

The resolutions also argued that holding separate elections in Punjab, the largest federating unit with over 50 per cent of the National Assembly seats, would inevitably impact the outcome of general elections to the National Assembly seats in Punjab. Therefore, it could potentially marginalise the smaller provinces’ role in the federation.

The lawmakers belonging to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) staged a token walkout from the House chanting, “Hold elections and save the country”.

Also read: Top court puts its foot down sets May 14 as date for Punjab polls

The resolution comes as the Supreme Court declared as “unconstitutional” the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) decision to postpone polls in the province, in a blow to the government that has been trying to delay the provincial election citing security issues and the economic crisis.

Last week, the three-member bench — headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial and comprising Justice Munib Akhtar and Justice Ijazul Ahsan — also fixed May 14 as the date for the poll in the province.

On March 22, the ECP delayed the provincial assembly election in the politically crucial Punjab province by more than five months, citing the deteriorating security situation in the cash-starved country, a move criticised by PTI Chairman Imran Khan.

Since his ouster last April in a no-confidence vote in parliament, Imran has been demanding early elections. Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif has dismissed the demand and kept to elections scheduled for later this year.

(With input from News Desk)

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