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Elections must be held on Nov 6, President Alvi suggests CEC


LAHORE MIRROR — President Dr Arif Alvi has penned a letter to the Chief Election Commissioner, recommending that the upcoming general elections in Pakistan be scheduled for November 6.

The letter underscores several key points:

Firstly, it highlights the dissolution of the National Assembly on August 9, 2023, following the Prime Minister’s advice, as the starting point for the electoral timeline. According to constitutional requirements, the general elections must occur on the 89th day after the assembly’s dissolution, which corresponds to November 6, 2023.

President Alvi asserts that he initiated a consultation with Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja to fulfill constitutional obligations. However, he expresses his disagreement with the CEC’s opposing stance, emphasizing that setting the election date is the responsibility of the election commission as per the constitutional framework.

The letter also addresses the ongoing delimitation exercise, initiated after the publication of census results in August. It underscores the mandatory nature of this exercise as per Article 51(5) and Section 17 of the Elections Act, with the Federal Law Ministry concurring with the Election Commission of Pakistan’s position on this matter.

Additionally, President Alvi notes that the four provincial governments concur that the election date announcement falls within the election commission’s mandate.

Importantly, there’s a consensus among these stakeholders to hold the general election for the National Assembly and all four provincial assemblies on the same day to strengthen the federation, foster unity among provinces, and reduce expenses.

Citing Article 48(5) of the Constitution, which grants the President the authority to set the election date within 90 days of the National Assembly’s dissolution, President Alvi reinforces the importance of simultaneous elections to national and provincial assemblies.

The letter underscores the Election Commission of Pakistan’s responsibility to ensure the observance of constitutional and legal measures outlined in articles 51, 218, 219, 220, and the Elections Act 2017 to facilitate free and fair elections.

Given these considerations, the letter suggests that the election commission, in collaboration with provincial governments and political parties, seeks guidance from the Supreme Judiciary to ensure the simultaneous conduct of elections for National and provincial assemblies. This decision is influenced by the ongoing legal cases surrounding the matter.