Despite the fact that we have always been in dire straits, the current situation is driving the nation closer to anarchy. With governmental institutions at odds, it’s a free for all. The so-called democratic process is essentially dead, which makes our precarious situation worse. Who knows what will happen next?
The president’s unilateral announcement of the dates for the Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assemblies’ elections on Monday has added a fresh wrinkle to the current power struggle. The Election Commission of Pakistan, which is in charge of conducting elections, has contested the legitimacy of President Arif Alvi’s statement and has set the two candidates against one another. The president had previously requested that the ECP confer with him over the dates of the elections, but the ECP declined on the grounds that the case was still pending.
Uncertain of its future, the beleaguered dispensation continues to be defiant and has made no indication that it will abide by the Lahore High Court’s order from February 10 to hold elections for the two provincial assemblies within the time frame allowed by the Constitution, igniting a new round of legal conflict.
Elections for the provincial assembly are being delayed by both the electoral authority and the administration. The predicament provides the impression that everything is being done to thwart the democratic process of change that is carried out through elections.
The constitutional requirement that elections be held within 90 days of the dissolution of a parliament has never before been so flagrantly violated in our recent political history. Since the dissolution of the governments in Punjab and KP more than a month ago, there has been no sign that the ECP and the government have complied with their constitutional duties.