Maryam Urges ECP to Hold Elections While Bilawal Condemns MNA Arrested

Maryam Nawaz on Thursday said that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) will decide the schedule for the upcoming Senate elections, not Prime Minister Imran Khan.

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Speaking to the media in Lahore, she said: “You can hold the Senate elections one month before or one month later [but] you can’t save your government.”

Maryam’s statement follows the government’s decision to hold elections in February and invoke the advisory jurisdiction of the Supreme Court on open voting for the polls. The elections are to be held for 52 seats of the upper house because as many members of the 104-member Senate will retire on March 11.

“What I don’t understand is that if the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) makes no difference to you?

What is the emergency behind announcing elections one month early. Something which has not happened before in the country’s history,” the PML-N vice president said.

While Bilawal Bhutto Zardari commenting on Ali Wazir MNA and Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) saying it was “against democratic traditions”.

Wazir was arrested by police in Peshawar on Wednesday in connection with a case registered against him and several other PTM leaders in Karachi after a recent public meeting.

Peshawar Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Mohammad Ali Gandapur said Wazir had been arrested at the request of Sindh Police as a case had been registered against him at Sohrab Goth police station in Karachi. The CCPO said the lawmaker would be shifted to Karachi after fulfilling legal requirements.

In the FIR, the PTM leaders have been accused of committing several offences, including hatching a criminal conspiracy and passing derogatory remarks against state institutions.

Bilawal on Thursday criticised the arrest, saying “holding public meetings is no crime to arrest an elected representative”.

“Arrest of the elected member of the Assembly in this way is against the democratic traditions,” a statement issued by the PPP quoted him as saying.

Calling the cases registered against elected representatives and political leaders as “baseless”, Bilawal said such acts “won’t bring good results if the regime continues to muzzle the freedom of expression”.

He said it had been the modus operandi of “fascist governments” to implicate elected representatives in false cases to crush the public voice.

“The selected government is also trying to eliminate the democratic voices through adopting fascist tools,” he added, referring to the PTI-led government in the Centre.

Asked about Wazir’s arrest at a press conference today, PPP Sindh president Nisar Khuhro said, “I don’t think he was arrested by the Sindh government; the federation did it.”

When pointed out that the arrest was carried out on the Sindh Police’s request, Khuhro said “a case may have been registered” but that he did not have details.

Witnesses earlier said Wazir was arrested after he attended a ceremony held at Shuhada APS Public Library in connection with the sixth anniversary of the Army Public School.

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