The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has dismissed any notions of delaying the general elections, emphasizing its commitment to the scheduled electoral process despite recent uncertainties.

Following President Arif Alvi’s statement in an interview with Geo News anchorperson Hamid Mir that have sparked speculations of a delay, the ECP swiftly issued a statement reiterating its preparedness and determination to carry out electoral proceedings as planned.

“According to the action plan, the final list of constituencies is scheduled to be published on November 30, 2023. This announcement comes after the first phase of constituencies has already been completed, and the second phase, involving the filing of objections, is set to conclude on October 27, 2023,” the statement reads.

RELATED STORIES

The statement further said that ECP will commence the hearing of objections on preliminary constituencies starting from October 30 or 31, emphasising its commitment to conducting the elections as per the established timeline.

“The President’s interview had raised concerns regarding a possible delay in the elections, but the Election Commission’s clear and prompt response has put those speculations to rest. The Commission remains steadfast in its efforts to ensure a fair and timely electoral process,” the spokesperson said.

In an interview with Geo News anchorperson Hamid Mir, President Alvi said he does not see polls taking place in January. He recalled that he made various “efforts” for polls, including letters to the ECP and suggesting a cut-off date of November 6.

According to the president, the law ministry told him that it was not his prerogative. He stated that free and fair elections and a level playing field were crucial for Pakistan’s progress.

During the interview, he also alluded to the caretaker government being behind the spate of defections from the PTI. “Whatever the caretaker government is doing — what with people disappearing and reappearing with shifted loyalties,” he said.

Speaking about the amendments to the Official Secrets Act and the Pakistan Army Act, President Alvi said he “stands by” his claim that he did not assent to tweaks made by the PDM government.