The Chief Election Commissioner (CEC), Sikandar Sultan Raja, was asked by President Dr. Arif Alvi on Friday to an urgent meeting on February 20th, to discuss choosing a date for elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
The conference will examine Section 57(1) of the Elections Act, 2017, which specifies that the president is tasked with announcing the election date after consulting the Election Commission Pakistan. The discussion will take place at Aiwan-i-Sadr (ECP).
Since former PM Imran Khan was deposed in a vote of no-confidence, the PTI has long demanded that immediate elections be held. Imran is adamant that only a government with a mandate can make the difficult choices necessary to pull the nation out of the current economic quagmire.
After the PTI leader’s announcement that his governments in the two provinces would dissolve their assemblies in order to clear the way for new elections, the Punjab and KP assemblies were dissolved on January 18 and January 14, respectively.
The president stated in his letter to the CEC—that significant developments had occurred since his letter of February 8—particularly the rulings by the Lahore High Court and the Supreme Court.
The LHC had instructed the electoral authority to swiftly declare the schedule of the elections in Punjab earlier this month. According to Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial, only the will of the populace can bring about a resolution to all of the nation’s problems.
The commission’s “apathy and passivity” in not responding to his earlier letter as of yet angered the president, who conveyed his disappointment.
The president said he had been waiting apprehensively for the ECP to recognise its constitutional obligations to move forward and act properly, but he was deeply shocked by the commission’s “poignant approach on this crucial topic.”
In his letter, the president once again reminded the ECP that being “conscious” of his constitutional responsibility of “preserving, protecting and defending the Constitution”, he was inviting the CEC for the meeting on February 20 at his office to consult on the date or dates of the general elections.
Alvi requests that the election date for Punjab and KP be “quickly announced”
Alvi penned a letter to the election commission on February 8 requesting that it “quickly declare” the dates for the elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and stop spreading “hazardous speculative propaganda” about both the provincial assembly and general elections.
Alvi stated in the first letter he sent to the CEC that Article 224(2) of the Constitution requires that elections for a parliament be held within 90 days of the dissolution.
The panel would ultimately be held accountable and answerable for any violations of the nation’s Constitution if it did not carry out its functions and duties, the president said.
“I am of the firm belief that there are no such circumstances which may provide any justification for delaying or postponing elections, in fact such postponements of constitutionally mandated elections throughout the world in recent history, have transformed into serious long-term set-backs to democracy,” he said.
To confirm its plan that elections in Punjab and KP within 90 days will not take place, the ruling alliance has stated that the nation cannot afford separate elections.