Fund crunch forces Pakistan to delay Punjab elections

Islamabad: Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) Wednesday delayed elections for a regional assembly after the government of Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif refused to provide the necessary funds and polling staff citing financial constraints.

The elections for the Punjab Legislative Assembly, which were to be held on April 30, were delayed until Oct 8. The move drew criticism from former prime minister and current opposition leader Imran Khan and his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party.

The decision comes months after Khan’s party dissolved the regional assemblies in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in a failed bid to force snap national elections. Since his ouster last April in a no-confidence vote in Parliament, Khan has been demanding early elections. Sharif has dismissed the demand and elections are scheduled for later this year.

Sharif wants national elections and the voting for regional assemblies held on the same day.

Former prime minister and opposition leader Imran Khan condemned the ECP’s move, calling it a violation of Pakistan’s constitution.

“Today everyone must stand behind the legal community – the judiciary and lawyers – with the expectation that they will protect the constitution,” he tweeted. “For if this is accepted today then it is the end of rule of law in Pakistan.”

Image courtesy of thesatimes

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