ISLAMABAD: President of Pakistan Dr Arif Alvi announced the elections for Punjab and KP assemblies on April 9.
Dr Alvi announced the date on Monday afternoon following the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) decision of not consulting President of Pakistan over elections date.
President has summoned the ECP officials on Monday (Feb 20), but the ECP officials refused to discuss the issue with Dr Alvi saying the matter was sub judice.
President Alvi today wrote the following letter to the CEC of the Election Commission of Pakistan.
Please refer to my letter dated 08th February 2023 wherein the Election Commission of Pakistan was advised to immediately announce the date for general elections for Provincial Assemblies of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Subsequently, Chief Election Commissioner was invited vide letter of even number dated 17th February 2023 for a meeting on 20th February 2023 at 11:00 AM for consultation, in terms of Section 57 (1) of Elections Act, 2017, to announce the date for the general elections of the aforementioned Assemblies.
However, ECP vide letter No.F.6 (9)/2023-Law II, dated 20th February 2023, has replied that the Commission cannot participate in a meeting on the subject matter with the Office of the President. 2. The Governors of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are not performing their constitutional duties for appointing a date, not later than ninety days from the date of dissolution of Provincial Assemblies as per the Constitution of Pakistan.
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) is also 1 not fulfilling its constitutional obligation for holding polls for the Assemblies of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Both constitutional offices are placing the ball in each other’s court, resulting in delay and creating a serious danger that constitutional provisions may be violated. 3. Whereas, vide Article 42 read with the third Schedule of the Constitution, I am under oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. 4. And whereas, Section 57(1) of the Elections Act, 2017, empowers the President to “announce the date or dates of the general elections after consultation with the Commission”; therefore, I have felt it necessary to perform my constitutional and statutory duty to announce the date of elections to avoid the infringement and breach of the Constitution and law i.e. holding of elections not later than ninety days. 5. And whereas, the Election Commission of Pakistan has already indicated the possible dates of elections in its various communications to the constitutional functionaries showing its own responsibility of holding the elections within ninety days. 6. And, whereas, serious attempts for consultation with the Commission as envisaged by Section 57(1) of the Election Act have been made vide letters of even number dated 8th and 17th February 2023, and inviting the Chief Election Commissioner for a meeting, however, did not bear fruit. 2 7. And whereas, there being no restraining order from any of the judicial fora, there is no impediment in invoking the power and authority vested in me under Section 57 (1) of the Elections Act, 2017. Therefore, in the exercise of powers conferred upon me under Section 57 (1) of the Elections Act, 2017, I, hereby, announce the date of 9th April 2023 (Sunday) for holding of general elections of the Provincial Assemblies of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The Election Commission of Pakistan is obliged under the law to issue Election Programme in accordance with Section 57 (2) of the Elections Act, 2017.
Earlier in the morning, the ECP decided this in a meeting held on Monday (Feb 20). Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja chaired the ECP members meeting.
The CEC Sikandar Sultan Raja said that the Commission has sent a letter to the President Alvi to inform him about the final decision of the ECP.
A day earlier the Election Commission of Pakistan has refused to hold a discussion with President Arif Alvi on fixing elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
The ECP has informed the President of Pakistan that the matter was sub judice and Commission cannot discuss it with him.
President Alvi summoned the Chief Election Commissioner for an urgent meeting on Monday (today) to hold a consultation on the date of the poll for both the provincial assemblies’ elections.
President Alvi also lambasted the ECP and CEC for not responding to his letter about elections date for Punjab and KP assemblies.
Importantly, the ECP has raised objection to the choice of words, the President of Pakistan used in his letter written to the Commission.
The Secretary of ECP further informed the office of the president that the commission had approached the governors of both provinces for deciding a date for holding the polls.
He pointed out that the GoHe said that the Punjab and KP governors had responded to the letters but were yet to issue a date.
The secretary ECP also told the president that the Commission had sought guidance from the High Court via a miscellaneous plea.
In the prevailing circumstances, the ECP cannot hold a discussion on a sub judice matter, ECP added.