December 2, 2023

Zardari says country moving towards transparent elections

Asif Zardari, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) co-chairman, Sunday assured the country is moving towards transparent elections as he termed the present environment “favourable” for polls.

“The country is moving towards transparent elections,” he said, in a statement today.

The senior politician also expressed confidence in the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to ensure fair and transparent conduct of the elections, slated to be held on February 8 next year.

The country is finally approaching a crucial general election after five roller-coaster years comprising a dwindling economy, political instability and terrorism challenges. Major political parties in Pakistan have welcomed February 8 as the next election’s date, but have also expressed their reservations citing a lack of a level playing field, raising doubts over the fairness and transparency of the upcoming polls.

The former head of state said his party is set to compete in the general polls as it is “fully prepared”, underlining the PPP’s calibre to sweep majority votes.

“PPP is the only party which has the ability to fight elections in every environment,” Zardari maintained, adding he is certain the party would emerge as the majority winner on February 8.

‘No level playing field’

Two mainstream parties — Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and PPP — have repeatedly been complaining that they were being denied a level playing field in the run-up to elections and attempts are being made to pave the way for the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) return to power ahead of general elections scheduled to be held on February 8, 2024.

PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, earlier this week, complained about his party never receiving a level playing field. The party has been persistently voicing concerns regarding the absence of equal opportunities to prove itself ahead of the polls.

He said that the [Islami Jamhoori Ittehad] IJI was formed against PPP. There was no level playing field, yet the government was formed. “Even today, a field of sorts is being decorated. PPP is ready to play on every pitch. We will hopefully win.”

Meanwhile, amid reports of minus Imran Khan elections, PTI has also accused the caretaker government of denying a level playing field. With the election drawing closer, the PTI chairman remains behind bars in Adiala Jail and the party’s leadership claims that they are not allowed to run electioneer.

It should be noted that the Supreme Court, on November 3, ordered the government to ensure the conduct of general elections on February 8, a day after President Arif Alvi and Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja unanimously agreed on the aforementioned date during a meeting held at the President’s House.

The court’s orders came during the hearing of multiple pleas seeking timely elections within 90 days of the dissolution of the assemblies.

In its order, the court mentioned that the notification of the general election date has also been issued by the electoral watchdog, stating that no party has any objection to holding elections on the aforementioned date.

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