Home Latest News President Alvi ‘Announces’ Elections in Punjab, KP on April 9

President Alvi ‘Announces’ Elections in Punjab, KP on April 9

In letter to ECP, president claims he is taking decision to announce date for polls to avoid ‘breach of the Constitution’

by Staff Report

Courtesy PID

President Arif Alvi on Monday ‘announced’ April 9 as the date for elections in Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa in a letter addressed to Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja, stressing he is acting under the mandate granted to him under Section 57(1) of the Elections Act, 2017.

“… in exercise of  powers conferred upon me under Section 57(1) of Elections Act, 2017, I, hereby, announce the date of April 9, 2023 (Sunday) for holding of general elections of the provincial assemblies of Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa,” he wrote. “The Election Commission of Pakistan is obliged under the law to issue Election Program in accordance with Section 57(2) of Elections Act, 2017,” he added.

Explaining his decision, he said Article 42 of the Constitution, read with the Third Schedule, placed him under oath to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution,” while Section 57(1) of the Elections Act, 2017, empowered him to “announce the date or dates of the general elections after consultation” with the ECP. In this regard, he said, “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 90 days.”

Lamenting that “constitutional offices” were causing a delay, he claimed this created a “serious danger” that constitutional provisions might be violated. Recalling that the ECP had already indicated proposed dates for the elections to the governors of Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, he lamented that efforts to consult with the electoral body had not borne fruit. Therefore, he said, barring any restraining order from any judicial fora, there was no impediment against the president invoking the power and authority vested under Section 57(1) of Elections Act, 2017 to announce a date for elections.

The president also referred to two earlier letters he had sent to the CEC—one on Feb. 8 in which he had called for an “immediate” announcement of a polling date and another on Feb. 17 in which he had sought a meeting with the CEC—he said the governors of Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa had failed to perform their constitutional duties in issuing a date for elections no later than 90 days after the dissolution of the provincial assemblies.

The ECP has summoned a meeting of the electoral body tomorrow (Tuesday) to deliberate on the legal standing of the president announcing a polling date. Meanwhile, members of the ruling coalition have stressed that Alvi lacks the legal mandate to issue a date for elections in any assembly apart from the Lower House of Parliament and accused him of trying to make the polls controversial by deviating from law.

The CEC, in an earlier appearance in the Supreme Court, claimed the ECP was being prevented from performing its constitutional duties because he was not being granted funds by the Finance Ministry; security by the Army; or freedom to perform necessary functions by the judiciary. The PTI—which the president was a part of prior to taking office and remains strongly attached to—has repeatedly called for timely elections in Punjab and KP since dissolving the provincial assemblies in mid-January.

Related Articles

Leave a Comment