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ISLAMABAD: President Dr Arif Alvi, Wednesday, wrote another letter to Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja and said that under Article 48 (5), the general election to the National Assembly should be held on November 6, 2023 (Monday), within 90 days after the dissolution of the National Assembly.

According to the letter, whereas Article 48 (5) of the Constitution empowers and mandates the president to appoint a date not later than ninety days from the date of the dissolution, for the holding of general election to the Assembly; “whereas in terms of Article 48(5) the general election to the National Assembly should be held by the eighty-ninth day of the date of dissolution of the National Assembly, i.e. Monday 6th Day of November 2023.”

The president said in the letter that the National Assembly was dissolved by the president on the advice of the prime minister on 9th August 2023.

President Alvi, interim law minister meet again to discuss elections

The letter further described as, “whereas in an endeavour to fulfil the constitutional obligations, the Chief Election Commissioner was invited for a meeting to devise the modalities of implementing the Constitutional intent and mandate who in reply took a contrary view that as per the scheme of the Constitution and framework of electoral laws, it was the domain of the Election Commission, and following publication of last preceding census on 07.08.2023, duly notified delimitation of constituencies was in progress, a mandatory requirement stipulated by Article 51(5) of the Constitution and section 17 of the Election Act, 2017.”

After the response of the Election Commission of Pakistan to the previous letter of the president, President Dr Alvi held a meeting on September 11 (Monday) with the Federal Ministry of Law and Justice and discussed the legal matter for holding general elections in the country within 90-day after the dissolution of the National Assembly.

According to the sources, the president also held another meeting on Wednesday and discussed again the date to fix for election in the country.

According to the letter, “whereas the Federal Ministry of Law and Justice is also of similar view as that of the Election Commission of Pakistan.”

It said in the letter that “all four provincial governments are of the view that announcement of election date is (the) mandate of the Election Commission of Pakistan. Further, there is a consensus that to strengthen the federation and to promote unity and harmony amongst provinces and to avoid incurring of unnecessary expenses, general elections to the National Assembly and the Provincial Assemblies must be held on the same day.”

The president further wrote in the letter that “it is the responsibility of the Election Commission of Pakistan to abide by all the constitutional and legal steps stipulated under Articles 51, 218, 219, 220 and the Elections Act, 2017 for organising and conducting free and fair election.”

At the end of the letter, the president wrote: therefore, taking into account all the above, the Election Commission of Pakistan in consultation with provincial governments and political parties under the relevant provisions of the Constitution and in view that some of these matters are already subjudice, may seek guidance from the superior judiciary for announcement of a single date for general election to the national and provincial assemblies.“

However, Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar had already said that the caretaker government would act in accordance with the court ruling if the Supreme Court issued a binding judgement for elections to be held within the prescribed period of 90 days.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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