In a positive development, the ruling Pakistan Democratic Movement and the opposition Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) have agreed to hold general elections on the same day across the country.
The development came late Tuesday after both parties’ negotiating teams met at the Parliament House in Islamabad for a third round of talks aimed at breaking the deadlock over general election dates.
The head of the government negotiating team, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, told the media that a consensus on the timing of the general elections could not be reached.
He did, however, affirm that both parties had agreed that the elections should be held concurrently across the country. He also stated that both sides had demonstrated flexibility in their viewpoints.
“Hopefully, if they proceed with sincerity, the next phase will be passed successfully,” concluded the finance czar.
The meeting was held at Islamabad’s Parliament House, with Shah Mehmood Qureshi leading his group, which included Fawad Chaudhary and Senator Ali Zafar.
Former Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani, Finance Minister Dar, Law Minister Senator Azam Nazir Tarar, Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafique, Minister for Commerce Naveed Qamar, Minister for National Food Security and Research Tariq Bashir Cheema, and Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan Kishwar Zahra comprised the government team.
‘There has been no breakthrough.’
In an interview with media, Qureshi stated that the PDM wants simultaneous elections, and the Supreme Court has also requested political parties to be flexible in making judgments on polling locations.
Although there has been “no breakthrough,” the former foreign minister added that both sides have agreed to respect the Constitution and will try to find a middle ground so that it is not violated.
According to Qureshi, PTI delegation has requested that, because the Supreme Court’s judgment is in accordance with the law, a one-time exemption be granted by changing the Constitution for holding simultaneous polls after 90 days — the time limit for staging polls once a legislature is dissolved.
‘The election should take place between Eid ul Adha and Muharram.’
According to sources, PTI proposed in a paper that the polls be held between Eid ul Adha and the holy month of Muharram, which will fall between July and August.
“The elections can also be held in the second or third weeks of August,” according to PTI manifesto. The party will submit its draught to the Supreme Court, and both parties have agreed to commence election-related conversations with their highest leadership.