Pakistan Defence Minister Khawaja Asif has rejected all speculations about a possible delay in polls, saying that the next general elections for the national and provincial legislatures will take place in October this year, media reports said.
“The assemblies will complete their five-year term in August and polls will take place within the next 60 days. Elections will be held on time,” Asif said, The Express Tribune reported.
When asked what he means by “on time”, he replied: “In October. Elections will take place in October without any delay,” the report said.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) had dissolved the Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assemblies in January this year, hoping that the move would force the ruling alliance into dissolving the other legislatures as well and hold elections within the 90-day period. However, that did not happen.
The government has repeatedly opposed holding snap polls or holding polls for the national and provincial legislatures separately citing lack of security, funds and fresh census results.
Earlier, the PTI had expressed fears that the government might not hold polls even in October.
The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), which is a part of the ruling coalition, had also constituted a three-member committee to convince other parties in the ruling alliance about holding polls on time.
PPP Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari had even said delaying general elections beyond October would be “foolish”.
The PPP had swung into action after diplomats and foreign delegations started frequently inquiring about election timing in their official meetings and social gatherings with the government officials as economy and political stability depend on timely elections, The Express Tribune reported.