Elections on Feb 8 in interest of country, political parties: Solangi

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LAHORE: Caretaker Minister for Information Murtaza Solangi said on Sunday that it was in the interest of all political forces and parties concerned that general elections should be held on February 8, ARY News reported.

Speaking at the seventh edition of Think Fest 2024, the minister said it would be good for the country if the elections were held on the scheduled day i.e., Thursday, February 8.

He reminded that it was written in the preamble of the Constitution that the elected representatives would run Pakistan.

The remarks came as a third resolution seeking a delay in the February 8 general elections moved in the Senate today, citing the weather and the security situation in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Senator Hilalur Rehman of the Independent Parliamentary Group submitted the resolution citing severe cold weather, snowfall, and security challenges as the hindrances for the general elections.

Read more: Senate passes resolution seeking delay in elections 2024

“Severe cold and snowfall in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are depriving the citizens to cast their ballots while the candidates are also facing numerous challenges to run their campaigns,” said the resolution.

“In the same way, due to security concerns in the country, especially in KP, candidates are facing threats of terrorist attacks while campaigning,” it said, adding that it was also creating obstacles and limiting candidates participation in their campaigns.

Meanwhile, the minister said that in the run-up to the elections, everyone was complaining about the level playing field. “The working class of Pakistan does not have a level playing field,” Solangi maintained.

Without a fundamental change in the system enabling the common man to contest elections, there would not be a level playing field, he remarked.

The minister stressed that every political party should give its members the right to vote in the election of its office-bearers.

Murtaza Solangi said in his opinion, that yesterday s Apex Court decision was a good precedent. “It would have been better if there were legal experts in the panel who could explain the legal position”, he added.

Terming political instability and economic survival of the country main challenges, Murtaza Solangi said the next government might be facing economic issues.

“We need improvement in the economy. With the principal amount of the overall budget used for servicing big loans and other payments, it is difficult to run the country,” he said.

The minister said that the agriculture contributed about a quarter of the country s gross domestic product (GDP), but the tax collection from the sector was very low.
Moreover, he added, the population was increasing rapidly, which was burdening the sectors like health and education.

He said Pakistan was also bearing the brunt of climate change as well.

“We have to improve relations with our neighboring countries, as, otherwise, we cannot become economically strong,” Solangi maintained.

About the protesters from Balochistan in Islamabad, the minister said that they were offered to hold their sit-in either at F-9 Park or H-9 but they insisted on going to the D Chowk in Red Zone.

“No group, be it political or religious, is allowed to enter the Red Zone,” Solangi said.

He said the police had to take action when the protesters camping outside the National Press Club tried to enter the Red Zone. Later, the government s negotiation committee held talks with them and then the women and children arrested by the police were released first. Another 163 people were released in the second phase and finally the remaining 34 were also set free.

Medical facilities, including an ambulance were also provided to the protestors, he added.

The Balochistan governor and other members of the committee persuaded the protesters to go back peacefully, he said.

The minister said that there was a need of a negotiating committee having representation of major political parties that could give a better solution to this problem.

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