President Arif Alvi contemplates polls in Pakistan during November


Islamabad, Sep 01, 2023, IANS


Islamabad, Sep 1 (IANS) Pakistani President Arif Alvi is likely to notify the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and the Federal Law Ministry to hold general elections in the country during November, relating his decision on the basis of constitutional binding of holding polls within 90 days of the caretaker government’s tenure.

Reliable sources have confirmed that President Alvi is likely to defy the opinions of ECP and the Law Ministry, who has responded to his letters, stating that ECP was empowered to announce the date of elections and that the President’s suggestion of holding elections within 90 days and announcing the date of polls immediately was irrelevant under the new electoral amendments, which give prime authority to the ECP Commissioner to announce the date of elections. 

However, sources say that after the recent decision of the Supreme Court of Pakistan (SCP) on holding elections within 90 days of the caretaker setup in Punjab province; President Alvi is now gearing up to write another letter to ECP and Law Ministry, notifying and announcing the date of next general elections during November 2023.  

The source said that the President would be referring to the recent decision of the SCP and also to the Constitution, which authorises him to announce the date of elections after consultations with the ECP and the relevant Law Ministry. 

“The President will write another letter to the ECP, suggesting a date in November for the elections,” the source added. 

“President Alvi has been advised by his legal team that an act of Parliament could not override the provisions of the Constitution and that Parliament might have amended the Elections Act 2017, but the Constitution was clear that polls would have to take place within 90 days,” the source said. 

It should be noted that President Alvi had previously invited the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) on August 23, 2023, for consultations regarding setting of date for the general elections. However, the ECP wrote back to the President, highlighting that after the amendment in the Election Act 2017, by the Parliament, the President has no role in fixing the elections’ date. 

A similar response was also sent in response to President Alvi’s letter to the interim Law Ministry as well. 

However, the President is not convinced and has decided to use his power as per the Constitution and the law, the elections are supposed to take place within 90 days following the dissolution of assemblies, and write back to ECP against, directing announcement of elections during November 2023

Moreover, the apex court is also set to take up the issue during next week as it is stated recently in its verdict on delay in elections in Punjab province, that it will not accept any steps that may be in violation of the Constitution. 

The matter has become a tug of war between the ECP and the President’s office, which has further spread political uncertainty over the date of next general elections.  


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