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ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) Saturday lectured President Dr Arif Alvi on opting for a “better choice of words” while addressing other constitutional bodies, as the Commission responded to his earlier letter in which he had summoned Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) for an “urgent meeting” on Monday about holding elections in two provinces – Punjab and the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

Through the letter addressed to the president, the ECP conveyed its reservations over the words used by the President in his earlier letter to CEC Sikandar Sultan Raja, asking him for an “urgent meeting”.

The ECP’s letter stated: “the office of the president is the highest constitutional body and the president is head of the State whereas all other constitutional and legal bodies are under constitutional obligation to offer utmost respect for the president.”

“We are sure that it is impartial and expect paternal guidance from this prestigious in office towards other constitutional bodies,” stated the ECP’s letter, adding the Commission has “utmost respect for the President’s office.”

However, the letter, the ECP hoped that “there will be a better choice of words while addressing such other constitutional institutions.”

ECP explains its position

It further stated that the ECP abides by the Constitution and the law and that the Commission’s job is to conduct elections, whereas, the president and the governors are responsible for announcing election dates.

It further stated that the Commission had also issued reminders to both governors on January 29.

“The Election Commission is fully cognizant of its constitutional obligations to organize and conduct the election and has taken all necessary steps in this regard. It will not be out of place to mention here that the role of the president and the governor of a province is clearly mentioned in Article 48(5) and 105(3) of the Constitution respectively,” it further stated.

It added that the Constitution does not empower the electoral Commission to fix a date for general election to an assembly in case of dissolution.

Additionally, it added “according to Article 48(5) of the Constitution, where the National Assembly is dissolved by the president, he shall appoint a date for the election and appoint a Caretaker cabinet” and “under Article 105(3)(a), he shall appoint a date for General Elections to the assembly and shall appoint a care-taker cabinet”.

With reference to the first two paragraphs of the president’s letter, the ECP wrote that the Commission is trying its “level best” to fulfil its constitutional duties “without any pressure or fear”.

Through the letter, the ECP also pointed out that the Lahore High Court (LHC) ordered a meeting with the governor regarding the provincial assembly elections and ECP officials met with governors. However, the governor refrained from providing an election date and stated that he “intends to approach the legal forum”.

A day earlier, President Alvi summoned the CEC for an “urgent meeting” on February 20 (Monday) for consultation regarding the date for holding elections in Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, besides expressing his displeasure over the “apathy and inaction” on the part of the ECP as well as its “poignant approach” regarding the delay in announcing the date for the polls.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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Masud Canada Feb 19, 2023 07:06am
The matter will ultimately be settled in court, who is running the country now , while Executive and legislature are dysfunctional.
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KU Feb 19, 2023 12:19pm
The constitution clearly defines the ranks where orders and directions flow and need to be followed, but when ECP tells the President of Pakistan to choose his words carefully, it is violating the norms. But we seem to forget that the Big Boys League is not really bothered by this fiasco, they never have, as our history has a lot of potholes of similar nature. What about elections that people demand as their democratic right?
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