Caretaker govt fully prepared & committed to hold elections on Feb 8: Murtaza Solangi


KARACHI (APP): Caretaker Federal Minister for Information, Broadcasting and Parliamentary Affairs Murtaza Solangi on Thursday said that the caretaker government was fully prepared and committed to conduct general elections on February 8.

He was addressing a seminar on “Challenges and Roadmap for the New Government”, organized by the Press Information Department.

The minister said that as the government’s spokesperson, he had been reiterating the caretaker government’s commitment for holding elections as per the schedule given by the Election Commission of Pakistan.

“The election process should continue in any case and  major issues facing the country, including economy, foreign policy, local governments, governance and civil service reforms, should also be discussed to find their solution,” he remarked.

Solangi said that despite many flaws in the democratic system and electoral process, everyone was in agreement that the electoral process should not be stopped and elections should be held.

He said that since the formation of the caretaker cabinet on August 17, 2023, the government had been consistently reiterating its commitment that the elections would definitely be held and also on the scheduled date of February 8.

The minister said that speakers in the seminar had highlighted the historical background of elections in Pakistan thoroughly. Such speeches should end the impression of restriction on the freedom of expression.

He said that some elements had been spreading rumours about delaying the elections on the pretext of security and weather issues.

He recalled that there were security issues in 2008 and 2013 but the elections were held. Likewise, the 1970 elections, the first elections under the adult franchise system, were held in harsh weather in December.

Today the security and weather problems were real, but elections in the past were held despite such issues, he added.

He reiterated that the 2008 and 2013 elections had security issues, while the first adult franchise polls were held on December 7, 1970 in bitterly cold weather.

The minister said that the country was facing multiple  challenges and problems  today.

He said that there was urgent need for tax reforms to stabilize the economy. Apart from that, the system of local governments was mandatory under the Constitution, but unfortunately it had been fully paralyzed.

He said that after the 18th Constitutional Amendment, the resources were transferred to the provinces, which unfortunately could not be further transferred to the lower level.

Solangi said that there had been problems of a level playing field. The poor and middle classes never got a level playing field.

Certain political parties were crying about the level playing field but they should first bring democracy in their ranks.

“Real democracy will flourish when the persons from middle, lower middle and working classes can contest elections and get elected.”

He reaffirmed that economy, foreign policy, local governments, governance and civil service reforms were the real and fundamental problems of the country. “ We should discuss these issues and there should be a national consensus on how to cope with the challenges after the election,” he maintained.

He said that there should not be politics on the country’s future.

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