The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), in its response to a Senate resolution seeking a delay to the Feb. 8 general elections, said all arrangements were complete and it will not be “advisable” to postpone the polling process.
On Jan. 5, the Senate adopted—with just 14 members in attendance—a resolution moved by Senator Dilawar Khan seeking a delay to polls over the harsh winter weather, the deteriorating security situation, and the resurgence of COVID-19. Interim Information Minister Murtaza Solangi and PMLN Senator Afnanullah Khan opposed the measure, but senators from Balochistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa passed it, demanding that its implementation.
In its statement, the ECP said it had discussed the resolution and noted that the date for polls was finalized in consultation with President Arif Alvi. “For maintenance of law and order, the Commission has issued directions to the caretaker federal and provincial governments for beefing up security matrix and provide congenial environment to the electorate for peaceful/credible conduct of general elections 2024,” it said.
Stressing all necessary arrangements for the polls were complete, it noted that a commitment to conduct the polls on Feb. 8 was also submitted to the Supreme Court. “Likewise, it would not be out of place to mention here that in the past general elections and local government elections have been held in winter season,” it said.
“Sequel to the above-narrated facts, it will not be advisable for the commission to postpone general elections 2024 at this stage,” it added.
Separately, on Monday, Independent lawmaker Dilawar Khan—how had tabled the resolution—urged Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani to ensure its implementation. In a letter, he said it was “disconcerting” that the ECP had not taken any steps to delay the polls despite the House’s “explicit urging.”
Since Khan’s resolution was adopted on Jan. 5, the Senate has not been in session, but two more resolutions have been submitted seeking a similar delay to polls. Both additional resolutions have cited the cold weather and the security situation as reasons for postponing the polls.