Farhatullah Babar says impartial investigation needed on May 9.
Calls for end of the military establishment’s role in political sphere.
PTI calls for granting voting rights to overseas Pakistanis.
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) senior leader Farhatullah Babar demanded the “immediate cessation of political engineering and reverse engineering” in the run-up to the polls and asked the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to issue a schedule, reported The News.
Babar expressed his views during a consultative session in Islamabad organised by the Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development and Transparency (PILDAT) on “How to Ensure Free and Fair General Elections”.
The former senator said that the prospects of general elections being held in the last week of January 2024 appear to be probable and uncertain.
He also suggested exploring the implementation of compulsory voting and introducing the “none of the above” option to improve the country’s democratic process. He also called for an end to the military establishment’s role in the political and electoral sphere.
“We must demand an immediate cessation of political engineering and reverse engineering in the run-up to polls and independent investigations in the recent disappearances of political activists for weeks and reappearance only to denounce their previous political leaders,” he said.
Babar also condemned the lawlessness on May 9 but called for an impartial investigation so that there is no blatant poll manipulation.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) Shoaib Shaheen pointed out that the people’s trust and faith in the system was declining, and blamed heightened political polarisation for the violence.
He also emphasised the importance of granting voting rights to overseas Pakistanis and highlighted its significance in the upcoming election.
‘Elections shouldn’t be delayed’
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Tariq Fazal Chaudhry said that the elections should not be further delayed. He commended the parliament’s electoral reforms committee for producing commendable recommendations but urged the continued progress of the process.
Free and fair polls
Bilal Gilani from Gallup Pakistan highlighted the reservations held by the majority of the population about the election’s fairness.
Gilani said while the election is a significant issue, inflation is now the main issue as it impacts 50% of the population who believe democracy is falling short of delivering. He cautioned against holding just one or two stakeholders responsible for this predicament.
Hafiz Tahir Khalil, Bureau Chief-Islamabad, Jang, suggested that the parliament was be surrendering its powers and called the politicians to unite in to develop a national agenda to address Pakistan’s most pressing concerns.