Caretaker setup will be the ultimate king as no polls insight — PDM be more vulnerable

Caretaker setup will be the ultimate king as no polls insight -- PDM be more vulnerable

By Irum Saleem

Let the caretaker government enters the arena this month, the PDM especially the PMLN will be more vulnerable.

Although the polls does seem to take place this November, the caretaker set up will be the king.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s assertion that general elections will be held according to the results of the recently concluded digital census has thrown up a slew of questions, the most important of which concerns the timely holding of polls. Up until recently, ministers had been saying that elections would be conducted as per the 2017 head count. However, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, while talking to a local TV channel, threw a curveball on Tuesday when he categorically said that elections would be held “on the basis of the new census”. If this is to be done, then the results of the fresh head count will have to be notified, a constitutional amendment passed, and new delimitations conducted by the ECP.

Dawn says considering that the information minister has said that the National Assembly will be dissolved early, can all this be achieved within the available time frame? After all, the current parliament only has days left to its tenure, while the House lacks the numbers to pass an amendment authorising new delimitations. Do the rulers plan on resorting to more constitutional ‘wizardry’, similar to what was seen in the case of the Punjab and KP caretaker set-ups? Will the caretakers at the centre be around for longer than the legally mandated 90 days? A fresh legal and constitutional crisis confronts the nation if the outgoing rulers insist on holding polls as per the 2023 numbers.

The government must also consider that the MQM, PPP and other parties have reservations about the latest census results, and it is unlikely there will be consensus on the issue when the Council of Common Interests meets to deliberate on the head count. This leaves the door open for political engineering, particularly if the caretakers call a meeting of the CCI to approve the 2023 census. While it would have been ideal to hold elections according to the latest census, under no circumstances must polls be delayed beyond the constitutionally mandated period available to the caretakers to hold them. The census controversy must not be used as an excuse to further violate the Constitution, and delay polls indefinitely. The PML-N needs to dispel the confusion and forge consensus around holding the polls as per the 2017 figures so that a clear time frame emerges for general elections.

Let’s see the fate of the Sharifs and Zardaris in coming months. PAK DESTINY

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