With elections approaching political parties have switched to election mode and are holding rallies and are mobilizing people. Amidst this mobilization and political activity the statements of ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif have generated plenty of discussion as well as controversy. While addressing public gathering at Ahmedpur Lamma, the ousted Prime Minister said that his party’s real contest is not with Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and Pakistan Peoples’ Party but with the ‘aliens’, however he failed to divulge more information about these ‘aliens’.
The ‘alien talk’ of the ousted Prime Minister was echoed by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi a few days later. During an informal chat with journalists, the Prime Minister said that the next general elections would be conducted by ‘aliens’, not the caretaker government. The remarks of two key ruling party leaders show that the party is concerned about the transparency of upcoming elections. The party will however need to divulge more information than simply dropping hints regarding alleged role of ‘others’ in the election process.
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) also took exception to remarks of the Prime Minister. While dismissing the prime minister’s remarks that ‘aliens’ will conduct the upcoming elections, the ECP said that they are against the spirit of the Constitution and its mandate. In a statement, the ECP said it is completely ready to hold the 2018 General Elections and is entirely independent when it comes to its legal and constitutional responsibilities. It also cautioned those holding high offices to refrain from making such statements, which are based on speculation and hearsay.
Many political leaders have expressed surprise at the ‘alien remarks’, Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) leader Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain has asked Nawaz Sharif to clarify his statement that the PML-N will be contesting the general elections against ‘aliens’. Jamaati-e-Islami (JI) chief Senator Sirajul Haq has said that statements that ‘aliens’ will be overseeing the upcoming general elections are dangerous for the upcoming polls. Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Syed Khurshid Ahmed Shah has remarked that ‘aliens’ are part of electoral systems across the globe including Pakistan. The controversy regarding the senate elections has still not settled and now claims are being made that the upcoming elections may not be fair. Such statements and rumor mongering without evidence will only lessen public’s trust in the democratic system.