So the Jan 8 polls are delayed. I am sure that Qazi Hussain Ahmae didn’t know beforehand about the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, but he predicted the postponement of elections well before time. Freezing January is heating up with the flames of resentment, anger, fury and uncertainty. New year commencement has been celebrated in shedding the tears of blood and with the fireworks sprouting from ashes of banks, shops, factories, railway stations, trains and vehicles, the prime victims in the wake of Benazir’s slaying in Rawalpindi on 27th December.
I don’t know why, but everything which emanates from the annals of present regime reeks of lies and distrust. When Election Commission (EC) of Pakistan announced that it would take the decision regarding the fate of Jan 8 Elections after consultation of all the political parties, people just laughed it away. Now the elections have been deferred to February 18th, and all the opposition parties are raising hue and cry that nobody consulted them on this issue. It seems that EC consulted only Fazlur Rehman’s JUI, and Shujaat’s PML-Q, and perhaps MQM, and that’s it.
“The situation arising out of the tragic assassination of Benazir Bhutto brought the electoral process to a complete halt all over the country, making it impossible to hold election on January 8 as per the previously announced schedule,” Chief Election Commissioner Justice (retd.) Qazi Muhammad Farooq said at a press conference in Islamabad.
According to a formal notification of EC: “Under Article-254 of the Constitution, when any act or thing is required to be done within a particular period and is not done during that period, the doing of the act or thing shall not be invalid or otherwise ineffective by reason only that it was not done within that period.”
Jamshoro, Naushehro Feroze, Qambar, Shahdadkot, Ghotki, Jacobabad, Badin, Dadu, Sukkur, Larkana and Thatta districts of Sindh are the badly affected and its true that its hard to carry on with polls in those areas, but why not just postpone elections in those areas, and include them in the by-elections and get on with the polls according to the schedule in rest of the country?
All the political parties have reiterated their statement in which they accuse government of prompting the delay to somehow let PML-Q heal their brunt. PML-N central secretary information Ahsan Iqbal told media that the decision to delay the elections was ‘unjustified’ and ‘unilateral’. “Except for the PML-Q, no political party was consulted in this regard.” Awami National Party chief Asfandyar Wali said that the postponement was beyond the imagination of major political parties which were not expecting it. PPP also condemned it, and Jamaat-e-Islami leader Liaquat Baloch said the elections might be delayed even beyond the new date of February 18.
After watching the intense and ruinous reaction of masses after 27th December in all the provinces of Pakistan, Establishment knew that no amount of rigging could bring their toadies in parliament, if election were to be held on Jan 8. Even February 18, the new date is so close, and memories aren’t that short . There is a strong possibility that elections get whacked to a new date beyond Feb 18.