Home Latest News ECP Empowered to Announce Election Date, Reiterates Kakar

ECP Empowered to Announce Election Date, Reiterates Kakar

Interim P.M. says his government’s crackdown on smuggling will continue and the writ of the state established

by Staff Report

Photo courtesy PID

Interim Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar on Monday reiterated that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), and not the president, is empowered to issue a schedule for general elections, amidst rampant speculation that Arif Alvi plans to announce a date for polls and unleash a fresh wave of uncertainty.

Over the past 24 hours, multiple news outlets have claimed that Alvi is planning to announce a date for polls, as he believes Article 48 of the Constitution empowers him to do so. However, some legal experts believe this is reliant on the prime minister advising him to do so and in the absence of such advice, it is the ECP that has the mandate to issue a date for polls. On Monday, per local media, Alvi met the interim law minister for a second time for advice on whether or not he was empowered to announce a date for polls. Reportedly, he is also under pressure from the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) to issue a date.

During his interview with Dunya TV, Kakar stressed that after the passage of the amended Elections Act, it was the ECP’s sole mandate to announce a date for general elections. He also maintained that his government would help in the conduct of elections, reiterating that it had “no intention” of prolonging its tenure.

To a question, the interim prime minister said there was nothing restricting the PTI from participating in elections. To another query, he said PMLN leader Nawaz Sharif was a thrice-elected prime minister and would be treated as per law upon his return to Pakistan. However, he clarified, he had no plans to meet any leaders of political parties set to contest the general elections.

Referring to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman visiting Pakistan—which was earlier reported to occur last week but never materialized—Kakar said the Gulf leader would visit the country at a mutually agreed time when both sides were ready to announce projects for investment.

To another query, he said Kashmir was part of body, soul and collective memory of Pakistan, and Kashmiris aligned themselves with Pakistan. He also said sports, including cricket, should not be politicized and the issues concerning cricket with India should only be raised by officials of the cricket board.

Discussing the ongoing crackdown on smuggling, the interim prime minister said it would continue and the writ of the state established. “We are taking these actions so that the new government with its mandate can easily continue our work for public interest,” he said.

On Pakistan’s ties with Afghanistan, Kakar said they were multifaceted and the neighboring nations had regular discussions on trade, terrorism, security and regional connectivity. Both sides were talking with the realization that neighbors could not be changed, he added. On resurgent terrorism, he regretted that the militants’ capacity to fight had increased because they had the latest weapons, night vision goggles and other advanced equipment. Nonetheless, he emphasized, terrorists would not be permitted to seize even an inch of Pakistani territory, adding security forces would respond and manage the situation. The state would show its firmness against terrorists and no one would be allowed to resort to violence, he added.

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