President Alvi not authorised to fix election date: ECP

President Alvi not authorised to fix election date: ECP
Source: File

Islamabad (Web Desk): Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja on Thursday replied to President Dr Arif Alvi's letter regarding the announcement of election date by stating that the president is no longer authorised to fix the date for polls after amendments in election laws.

An important meeting of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) chaired by CEC Sikandar Sultan Raja was held in Islamabad to delibrate on the matter.

The electoral body concluded that the meeting with the president would be of no use after changes to the election law.

In his response to the president, the CEC stated that President Alvi dissolved the National Assembly on August 9 on the recommendation of the prime minister under Article 58-1 of the Constitution.

The letter read that Section 57 of the Election Act had been amended on June 26.

"Prior to the amendment, the president used to consult the commission for finalising the polls date However, after the amendment in Section 57, the ECP hes been empowered to give a date or dates to hold the general elections," the letter read.

According to the letter, Article 48(5) of the constitution should be read with article 58 (2) of the constitution, if the assembly is dissolved on the recommendation of the prime minister, the commission has the authority to give the date of general elections.

It should be noted that President Dr Arif Alvi on Wednesday invited CEC Sikandar Sultan Raja for a meeting within two days to “fix an appropriate date” for general elections.

In a letter to the CEC, President Alvi cited his constitutional requirement to decide a date for general elections under Article 48 (5) of the Constitution  within 90 days of the dissolution of the National Assembly (NA).

The letter also noted that the National Assembly was dissolved on the advice of then-premier Shehbaz Sharif on August 9.

In his letter, the president had that the date of election should not be more than 90 days from the date of dissolution of assemblies.

Later today, in a statement shared on X (formerly Twitter), the Presidency stated that it had sought the law ministry’s advice on the CEC’s letter.

" Aiwan-e-Sadr (presidency) has asked for advice on the ECP's stance that only it had the authority to decide the election date,” the statement said.