'Election delay badly affects civil society's mediation efforts'.

LAHORE -- The postponement of the Punjab Assembly election (and possibly also of KP Assembly) has further fuelled the political divide, adversely affecting the efforts of civil society to persuade political parties to reach a mutually agreed consensus on holding free and fair polls through the proposed multi-party conference.

In a statement issued on Friday, The Mediators (a conglomeration of civil society organisations) said 'the constitutional matter is to be adjudicated by the Supreme Court as a final judicial arbiter'. Whatever the outcome, a constitutional breakdown must be averted and the writ of the Constitution must prevail, regardless of its conflicting implications for adversaries that may perpetuate political crisis to unmanageable levels, the statement of the civil society organisations gathered on one platform said.

In both ways, whether elections are held in one go or in installments, free and fair exercise of the right to franchise of the peoples of Pakistan must be upheld in an inclusive and transparent electoral process in the larger interest of a plural democracy and the diversity of federation.

Despite new complication, the non-partisan role of The Mediators, in particular, and civil society...

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