ISLAMABAD: President Dr Arif Alvi has written to Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja proposing November 6 as the date for general elections.
The president said he had dissolved the National Assembly on the prime minister’s advice on August 9. He cited Article 48(5) of the Constitution, which he said “empowers and mandates the president ‘to appoint a date not later than 90 days from the date of the dissolution, for the holding of a general election to the Assembly'”.
The president said he had invited the CEC for a meeting to discuss the matter, but the CEC had taken the view that it was the ECP’s responsibility to announce the election date.
صدر مملکت ڈاکٹر عارف علوی کا چيف الیکشن کمشنر ، سکندر سلطان راجہ، کے نام خط
صدر مملکت نے 9 اگست کو وزیراعظم کے مشورے پر قومی اسمبلی کو تحلیل کیا، صدر مملکت pic.twitter.com/5W88oKxX62
— The President of Pakistan (@PresOfPakistan) September 13, 2023
The president acknowledged the ECP’s responsibility, but he advised the commission to consult with provincial governments and political parties and seek guidance from the superior judiciary before announcing a date for the elections.
The president’s advice comes amid divided opinions among stakeholders on the time frame for elections. The ECP says the elections will be pushed beyond the constitutionally mandated cutoff date following the notification of new 2023 digital census results. However, the president has highlighted constitutional provisions authorising him to announce the poll date.
The caretaker government has said it 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.
Meanwhile, voices have been growing louder recently from many quarters for either the president or the ECP to announce the election date and the polls to be held within the constitutionally mandated 90-day period.