ISLAMABAD: Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar on Monday expressed the hope that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) will shortly announce the date of next general elections, which is likely to be held in January 2024.
The prime minister defended the caretaker set-up amid the accusation that PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif had been given special treatment on his return to the country, by comparing it with the level playing field ensured for general elections in 2018.
Mr Kakar was addressing a news conference three days after returning from China, where he had attended Belt and Road Forum (BRF) conference on the 10th anniversary of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
Flanked by his cabinet members, the caretaker premier said he did not believe in giving government ads to the print media and expressed displeasure over some questions of reporters regarding country’s political situation, general elections and performance of the caretaker government.
At one point, Mr Kakar lamented that ghee manufacturers and real estate dealers had opened media houses and thus they did not follow the norms of journalism.
While responding to a question, he said: “It seems that date of the elections will be announced quite soon.
“We want no political party, entity and its associated political players to be out of the [election] process, but if any restriction is imposed by the court, we have to obey the orders,” the caretaker PM said.
About the allegations of some political circles that level playing field was not available to all political parties, but one, the PM said: “What attempt the caretakers can do in two months which will help any party to get 171 seats [of the National Assembly in elections].”
Asked why extraordinary protocol was given to PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif on his return and why Pakistani high commissioner in the UK was at the airport to see him off, Mr Kakar said: “I abstain”.
When asked why Nadra had to take a biometrics machine to the Islamabad airport to scan Mr Sharif’s fingerprints, the PM said being a citizen of the country Mr Sharif has a right to undergo biometrics at the airport.
He then added: “If someone thinks that an atmosphere of level playing field should be created for a particular party, which many wants, this I can’t do. If Mian Nawaz Sharif is a Pakistani citizen, which I think he is, … then he has a right to have biometric scans.
“So what extra steps the government has taken in this regard. If Nadra facilitated him, has he gained any political advantage through this process. A normal database procedure was portrayed in a way that level playing field is not available. Do you remember what level playing field was given in 2018?” he said.
Source : Dawn