ECP decides when elections are held, not Imran Khan: Maryam

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PML-N vice president Maryam Nawaz (file photo)
PML-N vice president Maryam Nawaz (file photo)

Islamabad [Pakistan], December 18 (ANI): Pakistan Muslim Leauge - Nawaz vice President Maryam Nawaz on Thursday hit out at the federal government saying that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) will decide the schedule for the upcoming Senate elections, not Prime Minister Imran Khan.

According to Dawn, Her reaction comes after the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf federal government preponed the senate elections to February, as a tactic to weaken the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) campaign which is gaining momentum to oust the Imran Khan government.

"You can hold the Senate elections one month before or one month later [but] you can't save your government," Maryam said while speaking to reporters in Lahore, as quoted by Dawn.

"What I don't understand is that if the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) makes no difference to you [...] what is the emergency behind announcing elections one month early. Something which has not happened before in the country's history," she added.

The PML-N vice president said that the Khan government's days are numbered by looking at the government's actions. "Whatever tactics you use, you will have to go home," she said adding that the Prime Minister destroyed the national institutions by dragging them into politics.

Maryam further pointed out that the schedule for all elections were decided by the ECP (Election Commission of Pakistan) and lambasted Khan asking him whether he took it upon himself to destroy the Constitution. "All decisions are made by the ECP, no prime minister can do this. In what capacity did you announce the decision to hold Senate elections one month earlier?

"Did you not consult the Constitution of Pakistan? Did no one from your army of advisers tell you that this is the job of the ECP? Or have you taken it upon yourself to ruin the state of the Constitution and national institutions?"

Dawn reported that Maryam said that the premier has also "suddenly remembered" his preferred way of holding the Senate polls which is the show of hands method. Though she was not against the method but said that the federal government's motives doing so had no transparency.

While accusing the Imran Khan government of taking "full advantage" of the secret ballot in the past but was now against it when it can see itself on its way out.

"There needs to be a Constitutional amendment. This can't be bulldozed through an ordinance. It is the job of the Parliament, the SC can only interpret but it can't make a new law... You can't use the Constitution for your personal gain," she said. Maryam also appealed to the ECP chairman to play his role.

As the PTI government announces by-elections, Maryam said that the opposition would not sit silently. "You can't hold a by-election on 500 seats... If the PDM resigns, which we will, then you can't hold an election," she said.

Amid political chaos in Pakistan, the federal government has decided to hold Senate elections in February instead of March 2021. The polls are expected to result in the loss of seats for Opposition Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), which currently controls the Upper House.

The decision was taken on Tuesday during a meeting of the federal Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan, reported Dawn.

In a 104-member Senate, elections will be held for 52 seats as many members of the Upper House will be retiring on March 11. The federal government invoked the idea of early elections in order to change the power structure in the Senate.

The PDM had unanimously decided that its lawmakers will handover resignations to their party chiefs by December 31. (ANI)