Dismissing complaints of no “level playing field”, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairperson Asif Ali Zardari said on Sunday that the environment in the country is not only conducive for general elections, it is also moving towards transparent polls.
Expressing complete faith in the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) duty to conduct fair elections, the former president claimed that the PPP is the only party capable of contesting elections in all kinds of “environments”.
At a time when the leaderships of PPP and other mainstream parties are demanding a “level playing field”, Zardari expressed optimism by saying that he has full confidence in the electoral body to hold transparent elections February 2024.
Apart from the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), most mainstream parties have lamented the lack of a level playing field. The PPP, which had until recently been touting similar complaints, now appears to be adopting a different stance given Zardari’s statement.
The PPP chairperson reposed his confidence in ECP and his party’s ability to win polls.
“The country is moving towards transparent elections and the PPP is fully prepared for it,” Zardari said, adding “I have full confidence in the election commission that it will conduct a transparent election”.
He claimed that “[PPP] is the only party which has the ability to fight elections in all kinds of environment”.
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Zardari said that he was sure that PPP would emerge as the majority party of the country on February 8 – the day elections are due to be held.
“The environment of the country is favourable for elections at the moment and the elections should be held on time,” he added.
This is not the first time the PPP co-chairperson has expressed confidence in ECP’s abilities and issued a statement which goes against what his party leadership has been saying.
Earlier, the former president of Pakistan had vetoed his party’s consistent stance in favour of conducting elections within 90 days when he stated that the completion of the delimitation exercise was necessary before holding polls.
In a statement, the PPP leader had maintained that the ECP was bound to redraw the boundaries of all constituencies after a fresh and updated census. “The ECP would conduct elections as per the Constitution, and my party has full confidence in the chief election commissioner and all ECP members,” he said.
Zardari’s contradictory statement came a day after his son, former foreign minister and PPP co-chairperson, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari showed some flexibility in his earlier stance of seeking polls within 90 days.
Read more Bilawal warns against ‘imposed PM’
Previously, Bilawal and the PPP leadership had moved the courts and the interim government to hold polls within 90 days. However, later on, Bilawal suggested extending the exercise to 120 days if not possible within the 90-day constitutional timeframe.
In comparison, the PML-N leadership had appeared to be fine with polls taking place in January or February of the following year. It has also remained indifferent to growing calls by other parties for a level playing field for all.
Just the other day, Bilawal said that it is not in the PPP’s principles to look left and right as it only looks at the people for guidance maintaining that it is the sole prerogative of the people of the country to decide who should serve and represent them. “The party is ready to accept the decision of the people,” he stated.
Apart from PPP leaders, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leadership, among others, has been consistent in complaining about not having a level playing field at the moment.