A spokesperson for the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Wednesday criticized a meeting between Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja and U.K. High Commissioner to Pakistan Jane Marriott, claiming it “defies logic as to its merit and intentions.”
“Visit of [Jane Marriott] to the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) office defies logic as to its merit and intentions,” wrote spokesperson Raoof Hasan in a posting on X. Maintaining the Supreme Court’s detailed judgment into the delay to polls in Punjab had “held the CEC guilty of violation of the Constitution by refusing to hold elections within the stipulated period,” he alleged this was being repeated with respect to the general elections.
“Calling upon a contemnor of the Constitution is like applauding him for his misdeeds. Will she allow such an act to be enacted in her own country? Are we revisiting a colonial past? Like they say, old habits die hard. It is time for [Jane Marriott] to walk out of that horrid past, stop acting the Vicereine and display some consideration to the dominant public sentiment,” he added.
Earlier, in a posting on X, Marriott had described her meeting with the CEC as an “important introductory meeting.” She said Raja had agreed with her that it was “crucial the country sees free, credible, transparent and inclusive elections in line with the law.”
This was the second meeting between the CEC and a foreign envoy. Last month, he met U.S. Ambassador Donald Blome, who reaffirmed his country’s support for “free and fair elections” in Pakistan, adding Washington would work to strengthen Pak-U.S. ties with “whomever the Pakistani people choose.” That meeting had triggered similar concerns from several political parties, particularly the PTI, over the alleged “interference” of a foreign state in the internal affairs of Pakistan.
Following the dissolution of the National Assembly on Aug. 9, Pakistan was set to proceed to elections within 90 days—no later than early November—but the process was hampered by the notification of census results, which led to ECP starting fresh delimitation of constituencies.
The delimitation exercise is set to conclude on Nov. 30, following which the ECP is expected to proceed to polls, with interim Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar claiming they could occur as early as the end of January. However, amidst a lack of clarity from the ECP, several political parties—including former ruling coalition partner PPP—have voiced concerns over when the polls would actually take place and demanded that a schedule be issued to offer assurances there would not be any further delays.