Internal dispute emerges in Pakistan Peoples Party over election uncertainty


As the prospects of the next general election in Pakistan remain uncertain due to actions taken by the unelected caretaker government, tensions have arisen within the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP). Bilawal Bhutto, the party’s leader, has publicly stated that his loyalty to his father and party co-chairman, Asif Ali Zardari, is limited to personal matters and does not extend to political issues.

This statement from Bilawal was in response to a comment attributed to Asif Ali Zardari, who had expressed the view that completing the delimitation exercise was necessary before holding elections. Zardari emphasized that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) is responsible for redrawing constituency boundaries after an updated census, and he expressed confidence in the ECP’s ability to conduct elections in accordance with the constitution.

In contrast, Bilawal maintained his commitment to timely elections and asserted that his stance on politics, the constitution, and party policy remained unchanged. This public disagreement has exposed divisions within the PPP regarding the election date and approach.

Bilawal’s remarks came during a press conference in Badin district, where he reaffirmed his loyalty to the party’s workers and the decisions made by the Central Executive Committee (CEC). He explained that the PPP’s legal experts had concluded that, according to the constitution, general elections should be held within 90 days after the dissolution of the National Assembly on August 9.

Previously, Bilawal and the PPP leadership had sought to expedite the elections within 90 days and had even taken legal action to achieve this goal. However, Bilawal recently suggested a possible extension to 120 days if it was not feasible to hold elections within the constitutional 90-day timeframe.

In contrast to the PPP’s stance, the leadership of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) seems open to the possibility of elections taking place in January or February of the following year.

Bilawal also addressed economic challenges, inflation, and the burdens faced by ordinary citizens during his press conference. He urged the people of Pakistan to demand that the government take measures to alleviate their economic hardships, emphasizing the need for the state to support its citizens.

He cautioned against extending the caretaker government’s term unconstitutionally and highlighted the caretaker government’s role in implementing policies formulated by the outgoing government. Bilawal believed that the economic crisis was complex and would require time to resolve, emphasizing the importance of elected representatives addressing the public’s concerns.

Furthermore, Bilawal stressed the need to avoid divisions and animosity among coalition partners within the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM). He suggested that the public desired solutions to their problems rather than political infighting.

Bilawal acknowledged the challenges posed by inflation and economic difficulties, particularly during his recent visits to various districts. He pledged that the PPP would prioritize the welfare of the underprivileged and marginalized segments of society, positioning the party as one that represents the interests of the working class and peasants.

Meanwhile, Asif Ali Zardari, the president of Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarians (PPPP), offered a different perspective. Zardari emphasized the importance of completing the delimitation exercise before conducting elections, citing the ECP’s responsibility to redraw constituency boundaries after a fresh census. He expressed confidence in the ECP’s ability to conduct elections in accordance with the constitution.

Zardari also highlighted the economic challenges facing Pakistan and called for prioritizing the country’s economic development over political considerations. He urged the caretaker government to expedite projects under the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC) to promote economic growth.

The dispute over the election date stems from the timing of the dissolution of the National Assembly, which was dissolved by the previous coalition government comprising the PML-N, PPP, and other parties. The decision to notify census results in a Council of Common Interests (CCI) meeting shortly before dissolving the assembly aimed to extend the election campaign period but complicated the process of redrawing constituency boundaries.

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has yet to announce a polling date, and there is debate over whether the elections should take place within 90 days, as mandated by the constitution, or be delayed to allow for delimitation. The PPP had initially advocated for elections within 90 days but has recently shown some flexibility in its stance.

Overall, the internal disagreement within the PPP, along with differing opinions among political parties, underscores the complex and uncertain nature of Pakistan’s upcoming general elections.

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Sohail Choudhury
Sohail Choudhury
Sohail Choudhury is the Executive Editor of Blitz

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