President Alvi fixed April 9 as by-elections date for KP Punjab Assmeblies


ISLAMABAD: President Dr Arif Alvi on Monday fixed April 9 as the date for elections to the provincial ass­e­mblies of Punjab and Khy­ber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).

The development came hours after the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) reaffirmed its decision not to consult the president on dates for elections to the two provincial assemblies.

In a letter written to Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja, President Alvi said the date has been anno­unced under Section 57(1) of the Elections Act. He asked the ECP to issue the election schedule in accordance with Section 57(2) of the Act.

The president said that he was under oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution under Article 42 read with the third schedule of the Constitution.

According to the president, in the absence of res­t­raining order from any of the judicial fora, there was no impediment in invoking the authority ves­ted in him under Sect­ion 57(1) of the Elections Act, 2017, empowering him to “announce the date or dates of the general elections after consultation with the commission”. Therefore, he added, he had felt it necessary to perform his constitutional and statutory duty to announce the date of elections to avoid the infringement and breach of the Constitution and law.

Dr Alvi said the Punjab and KP governors were not performing their constitutional duties for appointing a date and claimed that the Election Commission was also not fulfilling its constitutional obligations with regard to the date of the election. “Both the constitutional offices are placing the ball in each other’s court, similar to the old Urdu proverb ‘pehle aap, nahin pehle aap’ (after you) thus, resulting in delay and creating a serious danger that constitutional provisions may be violated,” he said.

The president pointed out that the Election Com­mission had already indicated the possible dates of elections in its various communications to the constitutional functionaries showing its responsibility of holding the elections within ninety days.

In reference to his two letters to the ECP to reach a date for elections in the two provinces, the president stated that he had initiated a “serious consultation process” with the commission, but the ECP refused to participate in a meeting on the subject matter.

He said that in the exercise of powers conferred upon him under Section 57(1) of the Elections Act, 2017, he was announcing the date of April 9 for elections. He was of the view that the ECP was obliged under the law to announce the election schedule.

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