The Mutthaida-e-Qaumi Movement today urged Pakistan's Election Commission to postpone the May 11 polls by 15 to 30 days so that a conducive environment should be created in the country to hold general elections.
MQM chief Altaf Hussain said in a telephonic address to his workers from London that Pakistan was passing through the most critical phase of its history and conditions needed to be made conducive for the elections.
Hussain said the prevailing law and order situation indicated that current environment was not suitable for holding elections and that questions have been raised on the schedule of the polls.
"Elections, therefore, should be postponed for 15 to 30 days... And a conducive environment should be created by eradicating extremism and militancy from the society," he said.
MQM is one of the leading parties in the country although its influence is mainly in Pakistan's biggest city Karachi and some other urban areas of the Sindh province.
The MQM, which represents the Urdu speaking population, has dominated the national and provincial assembly seat elections in Karachi since first contesting elections in 1988.
Hussain also lashed out at the Returning Officers of the ECP saying they had no right to ask 'personal' questions from the electoral candidates during scrutiny of their nomination papers.
"They (returning officers) are in violation of Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution themselves by asking insulting questions to the candidates," said Hussain, adding the public has reservations regarding the conduct of ROs.
The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan also today in a statement expressed concerns over undesirable developments ahead of the elections and decried what it called a charade in the name of scrutiny of nomination papers.
"Those 'managing' the election affairs have embroiled the people in issues that are as irrelevant as they are unnecessary," the HRCP said. "Candidates for the general elections are being asked questions that have no link whatever with the law and the constitution.