Tuesday Feb 21, 2023

ECP to consult AGP after President Alvi’s unilateral announcement of election date

Chief Election Commissioner Sikander Sultan Raja and President Arif Alvi. — ECP website/PID/Files
Chief Election Commissioner Sikander Sultan Raja and President Arif Alvi. — ECP website/PID/Files 

  • Meeting called to discuss President Alvi's fixation of April 9 as election date. 
  • All members of commission attended today’s huddle: ECP.
  • President's move was rejected by federal ministers.

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) Tuesday held a meeting to review the situation evolving after President Arif Alvi’s unilateral announcement of the date for elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and decided to consult Attorney General for Pakistan and other legal experts.

In a statement issued after the meeting, the ECP said all the members of the commission attended today’s huddle chaired by Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja.

The meeting was called to discuss the situation after the president’s fixation of April 9 as the date for the polls of provincial assemblies.

On Monday, the president announced the date by exercising his power under Section 57 (1) of the Elections Act, 2017, and further asked the ECP to issue an election programme in accordance with Section 57 (2) of the Act.

Dr Alvi’s move was rejected by the federal ministers who were of the view that the president had abrogated the Constitution and he had no right to announce the date.

The ECP stated that “the commission has been and will continue to make decisions without any pressure according to the Constitution and law”.

It added that the ECP is always ready to conduct an election within 90 days as per the Constitution and law, but nowhere in the Constitution, it is written that the commission will give the date for the election.

However, the electoral body is bound to announce the election schedule immediately after a date is fixed by a competent authority, it added.

“The announcement of the date by the president was considered in detail in the meeting of the commission today and it was decided to take further guidance from the Attorney General for Pakistan and other legal experts,” the statement added.

In this regard, the ECP said, the AGP has been invited tomorrow (Wednesday) and two constitutional experts are being selected for consultation.