Senate Approves Resolution Calling To Postpone General Elections 2024

ECP stands fast on holding elections on February 8 as per schedule, says Senate resolution is not binding

Senate Approves Resolution Calling To Postpone General Elections 2024

The Senate on Friday passed a resolution that calls to suspend the schedule for the February 8 general elections in the country until a conducive environment can be provided for the polls.

The resolution was adopted after a majority voted in favour.

The resolution was moved by a senator from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Dilawar Khan. He argued that most areas of the country are currently enveloped in a wave of extreme cold or terrorism. 

This is why, he said, election campaigns have not been launched in these areas, putting into doubt the participation of residents from these areas in elections.

Regarding Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan, Dilawar argued that the security situation was quite bad as terrorism raised its head again. As an example, he pointed to the recent attacks on Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman and the National Democratic Movement's (NDM) Mohsin Dawar.

Further, he said that several political leaders, such as Awami National Party's (ANP) Aimal Wali Khan and others, are facing threats. 

In addition to the terrorism threat, he said that the health ministry was warning about a new surge in cases of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19). 

He argued that equal rights should be given to stage electoral campaigns in the smaller provinces. 

To address these issues and to ensure a conducive environment for elections, the resolution called on the Election Commission to suspend its election schedule, which put the polling day as February 8, and to hold the elections when the situation improves.

After the resolution passed with a majority vote, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Senator Afnanullah opposed the resolution. He argued that many people desire for the elections to be postponed. Still, elections are held per the Constitution and not on anyone's desires.

He conceded that the security situation in the country was less than conducive. However, he argued that they are not worse than the security situation which existed in the country when the 2008 and 2013 elections took place.

ECP dismisses Senate resolution to postpone polls

The Election Commission of Pakistan has dismissed the resolution passed in the Senate calling for postponing the elections, noting that the resolution is non-binding.

In a statement issued by the ECP on Friday, the commission clarified that they had issued the electoral schedule, and now, only decisions of the Supreme Court can impact it.

They asserted that polls will be held on February 8, as announced.

Supreme Court's secretary dismissed the resolution, passed by a majority, as having any binding effect.

Supreme Court Bar's Secretary Syed Ali Imran echoed those sentiments, adding that the resolution was passed by only a majority of people who were present in the upper house of Parliament, and the quorum was not complete. 

He asserted that the Supreme Court Bar supported Chief Justice of Pakistan Qazi Faez Isa's decision to hold polls on February 8.