- President writes letter to ECP, asks it to hold polls within 90 days after dissolution of assemblies
President Arif Alvi on Wednesday has asked the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to release the schedule for polls in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Punjab in accordance with the Constitution, reported Aaj News.
As per the Constitution of Pakistan, elections have to held within 90 days of dissolution of provincial assemblies.
In a letter, Alvi stated that the Constitution did not permit a delay in elections and “postponing provincial polls will translate to going against the Constitution.”
“The schedule of elections should be released immediately. This will also end the ongoing propaganda against ECP,” he wrote.
In the letter Alvi also wrote that “the conduct and holding of elections is the primary and essential duty of ECP as per PART VIII of the Constitution- in particular Article 218 (3) casts a duty on the ECP to ensure holding of fair and free election.”
Thus, it is ultimately the Commission, which if it fails to discharge its functions and duties, is to be held responsible and answerable for the violation of our Constitution.“
He went on to say that one of the oldest democracies of the current era, the United States of America is strong because it has never delayed elections.
“I am of the firm view that there are no such circumstances as may furnish any justification for delaying or postponing of elections, in fact if such postponements of constitutionally mandated elections are evaluated throughout the world in recent history, they have morphed into serious long term set-backs to democracy.”
He also noted that the ECP had already taken an appropriate constitutional step and announced the holding of by-elections of National Assembly seats of various differently situated constituencies.
Last year, PTI chief Imran Khan had announced that his governments in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa would dissolve their assemblies to pave the way for fresh elections. This was eventually achieved last month.
Subsequently, the ECP recommended that polls be held in Punjab between April 9 to 13 and in KP between April 15 to 17.
Following the Peshawar blast last month, KP Governor Haji Ghulam Ali wrote a letter to ECP regarding delaying the election, expressing concern over the deterioration in the law and order situation.
This steered widespread speculation that elections in the two provinces will not be held within 90 days.
Imran Khan said that people in power were using the Peshawar incident to delay the polls.
“If they succeeded in delaying the election, it will be disastrous for the country.”
PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry had also warned that Punjab and KP governors will be facing Article six of the constitution if elections are not held within 90 days of the dissolution of the assemblies.