Prepare for next general election: Pak PM tells authorities

Pakistan PM Pervez Ashraf directed authorities to prepare for the next general election.

Updated: Aug 15, 2012, 21:49 PM IST

Islamabad: Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf on Wednesday directed authorities to prepare for the next general election, saying his Pakistan People`s Party is committed to holding free, fair and impartial polls.

Ashraf made the remarks while chairing a weekly meeting of his cabinet.
He did not indicate when the next general election would be held though opposition parties have been demanding that the polls should be held later this year.

The premier said "preparations for the upcoming general elections should now be made", said a brief statement issued by Ashraf`s office.

The PPP "believes in free, fair and impartial elections and whichever political party wins, the result would be welcomed", Ashraf was quoted as saying.

Opposition parties like the PML-N and Pakistan Tehrik-e- Insaf have accused the PPP-led ruling coalition of failing to tackle problems like widespread corruption, a stagnant economy and a crippling energy shortage.

They have contended that the challenges facing Pakistan can be tackled only by holding polls.

PPP leaders have said that the next general election will be held only after the government completes its tenure in March next year.

The opposition parties, however, have been calling for polls to be held later this year under a caretaker administration.

During the cabinet meeting, the premier reviewed the energy crisis and said the resolution of this problem was his government`s "top most priority".

He said: "I reiterate that the government is committed to resolve the crisis (by) utilising all its resources and efforts to honour its commitment".

He told the cabinet that the Chief Minister of Punjab had informed federal authorities during a meeting on August 8 about unequal electricity outages in provinces and emphasised the need for "equitable and justifiable" power cuts.