ISLAMABAD: President Dr. Arif Alvi has expressed skepticism about the likelihood of general elections occurring in January next year, while simultaneously emphasizing the importance of transparent polls when they do take place.
Political analysts have also voiced concerns about a potential postponement of the elections beyond January, with many noting that no political party appears to be in “election mode.” Some have also mentioned the potential hindrance of “harsh winter weather” to the polling process.
In an interview with a private TV channel, President Alvi stated, “I doubt the elections will happen in the last week of January. I believe the supreme judiciary has taken cognizance of this and will issue an appropriate order.”
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) announced last month that it intends to hold the polls in the final week of January 2024 but did not specify a precise date, causing concerns of further delays.
Originally scheduled to take place within 90 days following the dissolution of the National Assembly in August, the general elections were postponed due to the approval of a fresh census, necessitating new delimitations.
During the interview, President Alvi also emphasized the need for free and fair elections, emphasizing their significance for Pakistan’s development, adding, “Everyone is calling for a level playing field.”
In preparation for the upcoming elections, he stressed the importance of national unity, stating, “The spirit of forgiveness is essential for nation-building.”
Regarding his party affiliation, Alvi affirmed his loyalty to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan. He commended Khan’s honesty in financial matters, describing him as a patriotic Pakistani, even in response to inquiries regarding Khan’s involvement in the Toshakhana case.
Taking a swipe at the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) in the context of the prevailing economic challenges, Alvi credited the coalition government with enhancing Khan’s popularity.
President Alvi also criticized the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), suggesting that the party is in search of a “new narrative.” He mentioned that the PML-N has been handed the narrative to collaborate with other political stakeholders through various public surveys.