Home Latest News Major Political Parties United in Disdain for Senate Resolution Seeking Polls Delay

Major Political Parties United in Disdain for Senate Resolution Seeking Polls Delay

PPP, PMLN, PTI all stress they want timely elections and do not support the non-binding resolution

by Staff Report

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All major political parties—the PPP, PMLN and PTI—on Friday slammed the non-binding Senate resolution seeking a delay to the Feb. 8 general elections, stressing that it carried no legal value and cannot be used as a pretext to avoid the polls.

Earlier on Friday, the Senate—with only 14 members in attendance—adopted a resolution calling for a delay to the elections due to severe winter conditions in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan; the COVID-19 pandemic; and security concerns. Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) Senator Afnanullah Khan was the only member in attendance to protest the resolution, though he failed to point out quorum, which would have scuttled the bid. As public backlash mounted over the measure, all parties united in condemning the resolution and “disciplining” senators who had failed to oppose it.


In a statement, PTI’s Gohar Khan urged the Supreme Court to take immediate notice of the resolution and ensure that polls proceed on Feb. 8. “A resolution of 14 senators based on their personal opinions, has no legal or binding force in the constitutional process of holding general elections,” he said, adding the attempt to delay polls “by some political parties” was akin to an attack on the Constitution and democracy.

The party also issued a show-cause notice to Senator Gurdeep Singh, stating that despite being present in the Senate when the resolution was adopted, he had failed to oppose it or point out quorum. “Therefore, you have violated the party’s known and stated position of holding free and fair elections on Feb. 8, 2024,” it said, directing him to submit an explanation within three days as to why action should not be taken against him.


Similarly, the PPP also issued a show-cause notice to Senate Behramand Tangi, noting he had “supported the resolution and made a speech on the floor of the house regarding the resolution moved by the Senator Dilawar Khan.” Stressing he was aware of the party policy on timely elections and had acted against it, it granted him a week to explain why disciplinary action should not be taken against him in accordance with party rules.

Addressing a press conference, Senator Sherry Rehman stressed the party wanted timely elections and she was clarifying the situation on “special directives” of Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari. “Senator Tangi has informed the party that he had opposed the resolution,” she said, adding they would examine video footage of the Senate session and other evidence to ascertain the veracity of his claims. “If his stance is not found to be satisfactory, then definitely we would seek an explanation from him,” she said, emphasizing that regardless the resolution had no legal weight and was adopted when the House lacked quorum.


The PMLN, whose senator was the sole voice opposing the resolution, also issued a statement categorically making clear it wants timely polls. “The PMLN’s decision is categorical—polls should be held on Feb. 8 according to the schedule of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP),” party spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

Similarly, PMLN Senator Irfan Siddiqui said the resolution did not represent any party in the Senate. “In the House of 100, a handful members’ opinion can’t be termed as that of the majority. The PMLN does not see this resolution a representation of the Senate nor in favor of any delay in polls for the interest of the country,” he said.

More opposition

Also joining the chorus of opposition was the Jamaat-e-Islami, whose chief Sirajul Haq described the resolution as a “conspiracy” against the country and democracy. “Postponing elections due to unrest in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will be tantamount to surrendering arms to those spreading unrest,” he said.

Interim Information Minister Murtaza Solangi, who also voiced opposition to the resolution on the floor of the House, regretted he was not given a chance to present his arguments against it. Speaking to media after the session, he stressed the no member of the federal cabinet, including the prime minister, wanted any delay to polls. The ECP, he said, was the sole constitutional body empowered to give a date or change it for elections.

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