ECP meetings
with foreign
diplomats no good:
Raza Rabbani

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15

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) senior leader Senator Raza Rabbani has objected to the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) interactions with foreign diplomats.

The former Senate chairman has expressed his concerns over foreign dignitaries holding meetings with Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja in his personal capacity and issuing statements regarding the election timeline and transparency. “Elections are Pakistan’s internal matter. We’re not a client state.”

The veteran politician is of the view that whatever’s left of Pakistan’s political independence mustn’t be allowed to be violated via foreign involvement.

Pakistan Peoples Party's (PPP) senior leader Senator Raza Rabbani
Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) senior leader Senator Raza Rabbani

The development comes as the country’s top electoral body has held meetings with all the major stakeholders in order to create a consensus for the upcoming general elections.

The ECP has held consultations with various political parties including PPP, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P), Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), Balochistan National Party (BNP), Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) and Awami National Party (ANP).

A day earlier, the electoral body once again reiterated its commitment to finish the delimitation process by December and hold elections by mid-February.

Last week the PML-N’s delegation backed the election organising authority to hold polls after carrying out delimitation of constituencies based on the new census.

As per the election watchdog, the Nawaz Sharif-led party informed the ECP that the Council of Common Interest (CCI) had unanimously given the approval for the publication of census results.

“All political parties agreed that 2023 elections should be held as per the new census. The delimitation schedule issued by the Election Commission is in accordance with the Constitution and the law,” the PML-N informed the ECP as per the watchdog.

Moreover, the electoral authority had also interacted with delegations of the JUI-F and PTI, separately.

In those meetings, the JUI-F had backed the ECP to hold general elections after the delimitation while the PTI had urged the electoral watchdog to drop the process and conduct polls with 90 days.

The decision to hold the consultative process came after uncertainty emerged on when the general elections will be conducted.

The ECP schedule showed that fresh delimitation will take nearly four months, meaning the general elections in the country cannot be held within 90 days of the dissolution of the provincial and national assemblies.