Tuesday, September 12, 2023

ECP, not president, empowered to announce election date: PM

Kakar's statement comes after President Alvi hinted at fixing poll date following PTI's demand

Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar. — Radio Pakistan/File
Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar. — Radio Pakistan/File

  • Parliament passed law authorising ECP to fix date, says PM.
  • "We have no intention to prolong tenure of caretaker govt."
  • Idea of Dr Alvi's likelihood of appointing a date is "wrong".

ISLAMABAD: Amid speculations regarding the announcement of the election date, caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar on Monday said the president is not empowered to do so and the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) would make the decision in this regard.

His statement comes as President Arif Alvi, sources said, is expected to announce the date of the election and he discussed the matter of the election schedule with the caretaker law minister earlier in the day — their second meeting in 10 days.

However, sources within the Presidential Palace claimed that the idea of Dr Alvi's likelihood of appointing a date is "wrong" as the deliberation on the matter of polls is still underway.

Kakar, in an interview with a private television, said the parliament had passed a law according to which the ECP had the power to announce the date for new elections.

Speculations regarding the elections should end which would be held according to the prevalent law, he said, adding, "We have no intention to prolong the tenure of the caretaker government."

PM Kakar said there was no restriction on the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) for taking part in the elections. He said Nawaz Sharif was a thrice elected prime minister and when he would come back to Pakistan he would be treated according to the law.

He clarified that he had no intention to start meetings with the leadership of political parties. 

Kakar said sports including cricket should not be politicised and the issues concerning cricket with India should only be raised by officials of the cricket board.

MBS visit

To a question, he said that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman would visit Pakistan at a mutually agreed time when both sides would be ready to announce projects for investment.

Responding to a question, he said Kashmir was part of body, soul and collective memory of Pakistan and Kashmiris aligned themselves with Pakistan.

The prime minister said that action against smuggling would continue and the writ of the state would be established. "We are taking these actions so that the new government with its mandate can easily continue our work for public interest."

He said the Apex Committee of Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC) included current military leadership, thus making the council a strong constitutional and legal body that was taking firm actions and implementing decisions.

PM Kakar said Pakistan had multifaceted relations with Afghanistan and had regular discussions with it on issues of trade, terrorism, security and regional connectivity. Both sides were talking with the realisation that neighbours could not be changed, he added.

To a question about rising incidents of terrorism in the country, he said the terrorists had now latest weapons, night vision goggles and other equipment which had increased their capacity to fight.

However, he made it clear that the terrorists could not take away an inch of the territory of Pakistan and that the security forces would respond and manage the situation. The state would show its firmness against terrorists as in no condition anyone would be allowed to resort to violence, he stressed.