Pakistan's Premier Multilingual News Agency

Senate passes resolution to delay February elections amid security concerns

Islamabad, 5 January, 2024 (GNP): The Senate passed a resolution in Friday calling for the postponement of the upcoming general elections scheduled for February 8.

Independent Senator Dilawar Khan introduced the non-binding resolution citing security apprehensions, despite opposition from PML-N Senator Afnan Ullah Khan.

Senator Dilawar underscored the constitutional right to vote and urged the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to ensure inclusivity and fair polls, particularly in colder regions of Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa during the harsh winter months.

He highlighted concerns about recent attacks on political figures, escalating security threats, and increased militant activities in KP and Balochistan.

The resolution emphasized the Senate’s responsibility to safeguard constitutional rights, expressing fears of potential rights violations if elections proceed without addressing these legitimate concerns.

It proposed a postponement to facilitate comprehensive political participation and ensure safety amidst the prevailing security challenges.

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The Senate Secretariat issued a notification confirming the resolution’s approval, calling for necessary actions from the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs and a report submission within two months on the resolution’s core demands.

However, Senator Afnanullah criticized the resolution, pointing out past instances of elections conducted under similar or worse conditions. Independent Senator Hidayatullah Khan echoed concerns over the security situation, citing personal threats and recent attacks in various regions.

Meanwhile, Senator Manzoor Ahmed from Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) supported the resolution, acknowledging the worsening security situation and advocating a delay of six to eight months to address these challenges.

In a separate development, PPP Senator Bahramand Khan Tangi faced a show-cause notice from the party’s Secretary General Nayyar Bukhari for backing the resolution against the party’s direction advocating for elections as scheduled by the ECP.

The resolution’s mover, Senator Dilawar Khan, defended the proposal, stating that consultations among senators highlighted the necessity of a delay of “two to four months” to navigate security threats and adverse weather conditions.