ECP to take guidance from AGP, legal experts on President’s poll date
Invites them for consultation on matter tomorrow: Says it has not mentioned anywhere in the constitution and law that the commission will give date for elections: States it has always taken decisions in accordance with constitution and law and it will con
February 22, 2023 04:35 AM
The Election Commission of Pakistan has decided to take further guidance from Attorney General of Pakistan and other legal experts following the announcement of election date to the Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provincial assemblies by the President, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.
Though the ECP has said that it has not mentioned anywhere in the constitution and law that the commission will give date for polls.
A meeting of the ECP under the chair of Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja was held in Islamabad on Tuesday. A statement was issued after the conclusion of the commission’s huddle summoned to deliberate on the elections for Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provincial assemblies following the fixation of date for both the provinces by the President.
In the meeting, the ECP has decided to take further guidance from Attorney General of Pakistan (AGP) and other legal experts.
The commission has invited the AGP for a meeting tomorrow while two constitutional/legal experts are also being chosen for consultation on the matter.
In its press release, the ECP stated that it has always taken decisions in accordance with the constitution and law and it will continue to do so without accepting any pressure.
The commission is always ready to hold elections within 90 days “but it is nowhere written in the Constitution and law that the ECP will give the date for elections”.
However, the electoral body is bound to announce the election schedule immediately after a date is fixed by a competent authority, the statement added.
President Dr Arif Alvi on Monday fixed April 9 as the date for elections to the provincial assemblies of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
The development came hours after the ECP reaffirmed its decision not to consult the president on dates for elections to the two provincial assemblies.
In a letter written to CEC Sikandar Sultan Raja, President Alvi said the date has been announced under Section 57(1) of the Elections Act. He asked the ECP to issue the election schedule in accordance with Section 57(2) of the Act.
The president said that he was under oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution under Article 42 read with the third schedule of the Constitution.
According to the president, in the absence of restraining order from any of the judicial fora, there was no impediment in invoking the authority vested in him under Section 57(1) of the Elections Act, 2017, empowering him to “announce the date or dates of the general elections after consultation with the commission”. Therefore, he added, he had felt it necessary to perform his constitutional and statutory duty to announce the date of elections to avoid the infringement and breach of the Constitution and law.
Dr Alvi said the Punjab and KP governors were not performing their constitutional duties for appointing a date and claimed that the Election Commission was also not fulfilling its constitutional obligations with regard to the date of the election. “Both the constitutional offices are placing the ball in each other’s court, similar to the old Urdu proverb ‘pehle aap, nahin pehle aap’ (after you) thus, resulting in delay and creating a serious danger that constitutional provisions may be violated,” he said.
Reporter Usman Khan