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President Seeks Supremacy of Constitution for Conduct of General Elections

Meeting interim law minister, Arif Alvi appreciates caretaker prime minister’s vow to abide by Supreme Court ruling on polls

by Staff Report

Courtesy PID

President Arif Alvi on Monday emphasized the need to uphold the supremacy of the Constitution with regard to the conduct of general elections in Pakistan.

According to a statement issued by the Presidency, Alvi met caretaker Law and Justice Minister Ahmed Irfan Aslam, discussing “many issues” concerning the general elections. “The president appreciated caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar’s yesterday’s statement that the caretaker government would abide by the judgment of the Supreme Court of Pakistan on this issue,” it said, adding the president had sought the need to uphold the “supremacy of the Constitution” and called for decisions to be taken in accordance with the spirit of the Constitution.

The meeting follows the president reportedly consulting with legal experts on whether he retained the mandate to appoint a date for general elections after the passage of the amended Elections Act, 2017. Last week, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja responded to a request by Alvi seeking a meeting to decide a date for elections by saying it would be of “scant consequence” following amendments to the Elections Act, which made the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) the sole authority to issue a date or date for elections.

Subsequently, the president had written to the Law Ministry seeking its input. In its response, the ministry had informed Alvi that it believed the ECP was the “competent authority to announce or appoint date” for holding and conducting general elections.

According to unverified reports, the president over the weekend also met senior military officials with regards to a date for general elections. However, no formal statement to this effect has been issued.

Alvi’s attempts to declare a date for general elections come amidst uncertainty over the polls, triggered by the former government approving census results. As a consequence, the ECP has initiated fresh delimitation, which has delayed polls beyond their constitutional deadline of 90 days within the dissolution of an assembly. In a recent statement, the ECP said it had revised its schedule for the delimitation process, reducing it by 15 days, with an expectation this would also result in polls occurring earlier.

However, the ECP has yet to issue any election schedule.

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