Stopping the elections seems to have become an election issue in itself, to judge by the recent pronouncements of PML President Mian Nawaz Sharif and PPP chief Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. While talking to a private news channel on Tuesday, Mian Nawaz said that the new Parliament could decide on articles 62 and 63 of the constitution and that the forces wanting a postponement of the election still wanted it. Bilawal, while speaking to former Prime Ministers Gilani and Raja Ashraf and PPP Punjab President Manzoor Wattoo said that those who had hijacked the 1990 election wanted the polls postponed, but the PPP would not allow it. The best reply to these fears was given by President Zardari when he told the Punjab caretaker Governor and Chief Minister to take necessary steps for the polls. He also identified the reason for doing so, and by implication the result of any postponement: it would violate the people’s confidence. His telling them is a reminder that polls need a government which can conduct them. That is there, so all that is needed is to make sure that the elections are fair.

It should not be forgotten that the country is rearing to have the election. The popular expectation, already at fever pitch because, for the second time in a row, the elections are taking place upon the end of assemblies’ tenures, cannot be ignored, and as each passing day brings the polling day, May 11, that much closer, the chances of a postponement go down correspondingly, with the corollary that any postponement will require an increase in exertion, an increase too great for any organisation to undertake.

It would be in the interest of the political parties to stop casting doubts where there should be none. More specifically, there should be no attempt to cast doubts on one another on this score. Instead, they should concentrate their energies on contesting the election, and winning it. True, the MQM and the PTI have both hinted at the possibility of putting it off, but the need to ensure the application of articles 62 and 63 should not imply any postponement of polls for which the preparations are well under way, not just within the government, but also within the parties and the masses.