Incensed by the Supreme Court order, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) – the second biggest opposition group in the National Assembly – said on Wednesday it was considering boycott of the presidential election.
“The PPP is considering whether to participate in the election or not,” senior lawyer and PPP Senator Aitzaz Ahsan told a news conference in Islamabad. “We will take a decision after consulting our allied parties,” he added.
The Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid, Awami National Party and Balochistan National Party (Awami) announced on Tuesday that they would support the PPP candidate, Senator Raza Rabbani, in the presidential election.
Senior PPP politicians, including Senator Rabbani, Makhdoom Amin Fahim and Senator Farhatullah Babar were also present at the news conference.
“We condemn the Supreme Court decision which was given without hearing the viewpoints of other parties. It gives the impression that the apex court and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz have forged an alliance,” said a visibly angry Rabbani.
He added that the ‘one-sided decision’ would affect his campaign. “The nomination papers are submitted today, while scrutiny will be held on July 26. This means I cannot leave the city [Islamabad],” he said.
“How can I campaign in Karachi, Quetta, Lahore, Peshawar and Islamabad for the provincial assemblies as well as Parliament in two days,” he said, adding that he belonged to the middle class and did not own a private jet.
Senator Aitzaz said the PML-N has got a decision of its choice. “The decision was announced after a preliminary hearing, which has created many doubts,” he added. “There is no constitutional base for this decision. Pakistan was established in the holy month of Ramazan, but the Quaid-i-Azam did not raise any objection,” he said.
Aitzaz maintained that the implementation of the Constitution could not be stopped even in a war situation. “Even elections can’t be stopped during wartime,” he added.
Aitzaz said the presidential election schedule could only be changed when the National Assembly was dissolved. “The PML-N, Supreme Court and the ECP have joined hands to deny the PPP a fair opportunity. The PPP had also lost the May 11 elections due to a conspiracy,” he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 25th, 2013.