Imran Khan loyalists would be allowed to contest polls: Pak caretaker PM
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has announced the general elections will be held in the last week of January 2024. But it has not given specific dates
Pakistan's caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar said on Tuesday that the loyalists of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chairman Imran Khan would be allowed to contest the upcoming polls.
Since the unprecedented attack on military installations by the supporters of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on May 9 following the arrest of their leader Khan, there was speculation that members of the party might not be allowed to contest the general elections in January 2024.
Asserting that the government has no plan to place any ban on the PTI, Kakar told reporters here, "How can the government commit any such illegality? All the loyalists of Imran will be allowed to take part in the elections."
He also pledged to ensure a level playing field for all parties.
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has announced the last week of January 2024 for general elections. However, it has yet to give any specific date.
Both the PTI and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) had long been demanding the ECP to give a specific date for the polls. They even raised doubts about the ECP's intentions, alleging that it might announce the date once the legal hurdles of PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif were resolved.
Sharif returned to the country after four years of self-imposed exile in the UK, after what his rivals called, "reaching an understanding with the military establishment."
Khan has been in jail since August 15. Currently, he is detained at Adiala Jail Rawalpindi in the Cipher case. On Tuesday he claimed through his counsel that he is being given "slow poison."
Kakar also dispelled the impression that the PML-N is being given preferential treatment being the party of the establishment. "We are ensuring a level playing field for all parties and will ensure free and fair polls," the premier said.
Meanwhile, the Punjab caretaker government said that the army troops and paramilitary Rangers personnel will be deployed for the elections in the province to perform security duties.
"The army and Rangers will be deployed in Punjab for the upcoming polls. As many as 147,000 army and paramilitary personnel will perform election security duties. Some 7,000 of 50,000 polling stations in Punjab have been declared sensitive," the government said in a statement.