Bilawal says polls on Feb 8 even if UN, OIC pass resolutions

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Bilawal

Amid apprehensions of further delay in general elections in the country, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said Saturday that the polls will be held on February 8 as per schedule even if “they” get resolutions passed from the United Nations (UN) or the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

The remark came during his press conference in Lahore, wherein he was questioned about the approval of a resolution by the Senate to delay the polls.

Bilawal said that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has issued a schedule for the polls on February 8 so the polls will be staged on the same date.

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“No matter if [they] get a resolution passed from the Senate, the UN or the OIC, elections will be staged on February 8,” the former foreign minister told reporters.

An independent lawmaker in the Senate moved a resolution seeking deferral of polls in the light of extreme weather and security situation in the country, which was adopted by a majority of 14 senators present in the legislature on Friday.

However, a fresh resolution was tabled in the upper house for the elections’ conduct on February 8 as per schedule.

Jamaat-e-Islami’s (JI) Senator Mushtaq Ahmad Khan, in the resolution submitted to the Senate Secretariat today, pointed out that holding elections is a constitutional requirement.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court was also moved to initiate contempt proceedings against senators involved in passing a resolution in the Senate for polls delay.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Information Secretary Marriyum Aurangzeb also stressed that polls in the country will be held as per schedule.

Talking to the media after appearing before an anti-terrorism court (ATC) in Lahore earlier in the day, the former information minister said that PML-N was the only party that opposed the resolution.

“Elections will be on February 8 [even if] other parties cry or shout,” said Marriyum.

Ruling out the possibility of the polls being put off, Bilawal recalled Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa’s remark of the election date being “set in stone”.

The PPP leader said that he thinks everyone has trust in this remark of the top judge and stands by him on this matter.

He expressed confidence that the general elections will be staged on time and the Pakistanis will have the chance to exercise their right to vote and form a government of their choice.

“PPP will accept the decision of Pakistani people,” Bilawal said while expressing his desire that his party should be given a chance to address the issues of the country.

Responding to a question about the provision of a level playing field, the politician said that PPP has faced difficulties whenever it contested in elections.

He said that other parties are contending that their candidates have been disqualified, but a greater number of candidates were disqualified in the 2013 elections.

Bilawal said that the PPP has always demanded free and fair elections in the country but currently, he is focusing on the party’s 10-point agenda for the polls instead of complaining about a level playing field.

“Our 10-point agenda is our manifesto [for the elections],” he added.

The politician further stated that he will contest the elections to implement his manifesto while Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) are contesting to save their supremos from cases and jail.