Monday, March 06, 2023
PESHAWAR: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Haji Ghulam Ali Monday summoned officials from the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to initiate an "active and meaningful consultative process" regarding the date for the elections in the province — following Supreme Court's verdict on polls.
The governor, in a letter written to the ECP, has summoned the officials on March 6 or March 7. The letter has been written in response to a letter sent by the commission for the announcement of the election date.
Last week, the Supreme Court, in a 3-2 verdict, ruled that elections in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab — both of which have been under caretaker governments since the provincial assemblies were dissolved in January — should be held within 90 days.
The assemblies in the two provinces were controlled by disposed prime minister Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). In January, Khan, in a bid to force early elections, asked the provincial governors to dissolve the two assemblies.
On February 21, President Arif Alvi, who is from the PTI, unilaterally announced April 9 as the election date in the two provinces, creating a constitutional crisis, with experts wondering if he had the right to do so.
The top court took a suo moto notice of the president’s announcement to determine which government institution had the constitutional responsibility of deciding the poll dates.
In the written verdict, the apex court held that in situations where a governor dissolved a provincial assembly, the constitutional responsibility of appointing a date for the election was to be discharged by the governor.
“The office of the undersigned is cognizant of the dictum and directions dated 1st March 2023 issued by the August Supreme Court of Pakistan in Suo Moto case No. 01/2023 and hence, the undersigned is obligated to honour it in letter and spirit,” the letter written by KP governor — which has been received by the ECP — read.
The governor, however, also mentioned a “relevant portion of the para of the dictum” of the apex court which is as follows:
“Consequently, the Election Commission of Pakistan is welcome to attend the office of the undersigned on 7th or 8th March 2023 at 11:00am, whichever, is convenient, so that an active and meaningful consultative process could be initiated,” the letter read.