ISLAMABAD: President Dr Arif Alvi has announced the date of April 9, 2023 (Sunday) for holding the general elections of the Provincial Assemblies of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa under Section 57 (1) of Elections Act, 2017 and has asked the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to issue Election Programme in accordance with Section 57 (2) of the Act.
In his letter to the Chief Election Commissioner of Pakistan (CEC), the President said that he was under oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan under Article 42 read with third Schedule of the Constitution. He wrote that there being no restraining order from any of the judicial fora, there was no impediment in invoking the power and 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 i.e., holding elections not later than ninety days.
Announcement of Date for El… by Arif Alvi
The President further said that the Governors of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were not performing their constitutional duties for appointing a date, not later than ninety days from the date of dissolution of Provincial Assemblies as per the Constitution of Pakistan. He added that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) was also not fulfilling its constitutional obligation to hold polls for the Assemblies of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
“Both the constitutional offices are placing the ball in each other’s court, similar to the old Urdu proverb پہلے آپ، نہیں، پہلے آپ, 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 of Pakistan had already indicated the possible dates of elections in its various communications to the constitutional functionaries showing its own responsibility of holding the elections within ninety days.
The President stated that he had initiated a serious consultation process with the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) under Section 57 (1) of the Elections Act, 2017 to announce the date for the general elections of the aforementioned Assemblies, however, the ECP replied that the Commission could not participate in a meeting on the subject matter with the Office of the President.
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 9th April 2023 (Sunday) for holding of general elections of the Provincial Assemblies of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.