Following the announcement, the Election Commission of Pakistan has summoned a meeting tomorrow. The electoral authority had earlier recused itself from holding a meeting with the president as advised.
President Arif Alvi on Monday announced that elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will take place on April 9.
Following the president’s announcement, the Election Commission of Pakistan has summoned a meeting tomorrow (Tuesday).
The statement comes a day after the ECP recused itself from holding discussions with the president on the provincial assembly elections, saying the matter ‘was now being reviewed by the judiciary’.
The Commission had stated that it may not be able to engage in a process of consultation with the office of the president due to the “issue being subjudice at several judicial forums” and a number of other factors. The electoral authority had also criticised the president’s “selection of words” in the letter.
According to the letter from the ECP secretary, the authority was ‘fully aware of its legal and constitutional responsibilities’.
Earlier this week, President Alvi summoned the chief election commissioner for an “urgent meeting” on February 20 (today) to discuss the election’s date, berating him for the ECP’s “distressing approach.”
The meeting, which was scheduled to be held at Aiwan-e-Sadr, was due to discuss the Section 57(1) of Elections Act, 2017 which is about the president’s prerogative to announce the election date after consulting the ECP.
Read this too: LHC Suspends ECP’s De-notification Order For 20 More PTI MNAs
On Feb 10, the Lahore High Court ordered ECP to immediately announce the date for elections in Punjab.
In its much-anticipated verdict, the court had ruled that the electoral authority was bound to carry out polling within 90 days of the assembly’s dissolution.
The plea, filed by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf for the issuance of the schedule, was admitted last month.
“The ECP is directed to immediately announce the date of election of the provincial assembly of Punjab with the notification specifying reasons, after consultation with the governor, being the constitutional head of the province, to ensure that polls are held not later than 90 days as per the mandate of the Constitution,” according to the decision.
During the hearing, Inspector General of Punjab Police had told the court. “We will implement whatever decision the ECP takes in this regard.”
On the occasion, the chief secretary had seconded the IG, saying he was, too, bound to implement the ECP and court orders.
Two days prior to the order, Alvi had urged the Commission to ‘immediately announce’ a polling date for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab to put an end to the ‘dangerous speculative propaganda’.
He had stressed that elections are to be held within 90 days of dissolution of an assembly, as provided under Article 224(2) of the Constitution.
The conduct and holding of elections, he had stressed, is the primary and essential duty of the authority.
“Thus, it is ultimately the Commission, which if it fails to discharge its functions and duties, is to be held responsible and answerable for the violation of our Constitution.”