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    Simultaneous elections: a panacea of all problems

    Simultaneous elections: a panacea of all problems

    PESHAWAR (APP): Hardly recovered from the whopping USD 40 billion floods’ losses last year, Pakistan’s economic woes were likely to persist this year as huge financial resources would be required for holding of the general elections, experts say.

    “The PTI has pushed the country into economic and political quagmire after prematurely dissolving the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab assemblies on the whims of one person bent upon to pitch national institutions against each other and create chaos in the country to achieve his own political gains,” said Ikhtair Wali Khan, PMLN KP spokesman and former member provincial assembly while talking to APP on Friday.

    “Separate elections in provinces and centre would further aggravate economic situation with hardly any chances of political stability despite early polls,” feared Ikhtair Wali, saying that ECP has demanded Rs20 billion only for Punjab and KP assemblies’ polls.

    “Can Pakistan, that was put under huge loans burden due to PTI’s poor policies, afford additional Rs20 billion for holding elections in Sindh and Balochistan later this year,” he questioned and said that only simultaneously elections backed by all political-religious parties could steer the country out of existing political and economic challenges.

    Citing reports, he claimed that PTI, from August 2018 to December 2021, had taken about $43.4 billion loans including a bilateral loan of $3.22 billion besides $14.5 billion through the commercial banks on high interest rate, thus pushing the nation and coalition governments in the hot waters.

    He said early elections in KP and Punjab assemblies seemed to be a futile exercise with more chances of confrontation and chaos besides rigging allegations by the political leaders as witnessed after 2013 general elections and supported ECP’s decision for postponing general elections in these provinces till October paving the way for simultaneous elections in Pakistan.  “I question Imran Khan whether he is ready to accept PMLN victory in case of early polls in Punjab and KP,” he added.

    “Free and fair election backed by all political parties was panacea of all problems,” said Dr Zahid Anwar, Professor Political Science Department, University of Peshawar while talking to APP.  

    He maintained that free and transparent elections not only reinforce the stability and legitimacy of the political governments but link citizens with each other and thereby confirm the viability of the polity besides facilitating social and political integration.

    He said the primal principle of democracy was the worth and dignity of the individual besides respect to people mandates rather dragging state institutions into politics, provoking people and giving rhetoric statements.

    He said political parties bring people closer during the elections and strengthen the democratic government system. “Election is a process of evolution that gives strength to democratic system and prevents bloody revolutions,” he said, adding simultaneous elections bring political stability and acceptability to polls results.  

    In a parliamentary system, he said the doors of political dialogue among political parties were always opened, adding that wrangling among political forces for power in the past derailed democracy four times in the country.

    ANP leader Wajid Ali Khan suggested a broad-based political consensus and unity among all religious and political elites including PMLN, PPP, PTI, ANP, MQMP, JUIF and others ahead of elections to ensure political and economic stability in the country.

    He said that if the political parties did not shun their differences and initiate a dialogue, the country would continue to be embroiled in political instability having an adverse effect on the already-fragile economy despite holding of elections in KP and Punjab.

    He said on one side PTI has prematurely dissolved the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab assemblies in a bid to politically destabilize Pakistan and on other side is demanding early elections in the wake of economic quagmire and rise in terrorism cases, especially in KP to please their enraged supporters.

    Except PTI, he said all political parties were unanimous about collective elections in all provinces including KP and Punjab and centre in October-November, upon the completion of five-year term of the existing assemblies in August this year.

    He said that even the tribal elders of newly merged areas have also opposed early elections in KP and Punjab provinces. He questioned how people would trust the fairness and legitimacy of the general elections in October-November this year when there would already be elected governments in place in the KP and Punjab provinces with all key departments under their control.

    The ANP leader said it would be very difficult for PTI to form its government in Punjab this time due to the lack of Jehangir Tareen factor and poor performance of the Imran and Buzdar governments.

    He feared that Imran Khan would likely start more confrontation and rigging allegations like he did after 2013 general elections against the centre, ECP and Punjab caretaker government if PDM won the early election in Punjab.

    The anti corruption slogans of Imran stand exposed after his party government itself closed down their own Ehtesab Commission in Peshawar to hide their alleged corrupt practices, he remarked and said that NAB has started a probe into alleged corrupt practices in the billion trees project.

    Wajid Ali said that PTI wasted huge taxpayer money in BRT project by completing it at four-time high cost as compare to the Lahore and Islamabad metro projects.

    He said Rs 417 billion were provided to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa since 2010 under the NFC award including the period of 10-year of PTI but the champion of so-called ‘change’ has failed to execute any single project of public welfare including  safe city project, setting up of forensic and DNA labs to counter terrorism.

    He said that PTI has failed to address the long awaited problem of overcrowding of prisoners in jails and provide relief to prisoners.

    The experts welcomed the adoption of SC( Practice and Procedure Bill) 2023 by the parliament as historic as it would give right of appeal to all the people affected by the judgments decided under Article 184 (3) of the constitution.

    They said political stability was imperative for economic stability and if all state institutions work under its constitutional domain Pakistan can achieve a new height of prosperity and development.

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