ISLAMABAD: President Dr Arif Alvi on Wednesday ordered the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to immediately announce the date for snap elections in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab, and put an end to “dangerous propaganda” suggesting the vote should be postponed.
In a letter addressed to the chief election commissioner, Sikandar Sultan Raja, the president has directed the commission to “immediately announce” the election dates for the provincial parliaments in accordance with the Elections Act, 2017.
President to ECP: Immediately announce date of elections as Constitution doesn’t allow any delay.
The Letter 👇
— The President of Pakistan (@PresOfPakistan) February 8, 2023
He referred to the dissolution of the provincial parliaments in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and said that, as per Article 224(2) of the Constitution, elections for the assembly must be held within 90 days of the dissolution.
In his letter, the president emphasised the importance of the ECP’s duty to conduct fair and free elections, as specified in Part-VIII of the Constitution, particularly Article 218 (3).
He also reminded the CEC and members of the tribunal of their oath, as stated in Article 214 and the Third Schedule of the Constitution, to discharge their duties in accordance with the Constitution and the Elections Act.
He stressed the significance of the Preamble and Objectives Resolution, which maintain that the state shall exercise its power and authority through elected representatives of the people, and emphasised the democratic principles and values that must be adhered to.
Alvi also pointed to the examples of the United States, where elections were held even during wars, and said that the Commission had already announced the holding of bye-elections for National Assembly seats.
“I am of the firm view that there are no such circumstances as may furnish any justification for delaying or postponing of elections, in fact, if such postponements of constitutionally mandated elections are evaluated throughout the world in recent history, they have morphed into serious long term set-backs to democracy,” he said.
The commission has already taken an appropriate constitutional measure and announced the holding of by-elections on the National Assembly seats of various differently situated constituencies.
“It will thus be in the fitness of things and in accordance with Constitution and law i.e. Elections Act, 2017, to immediately announce the date of polls by issuing election schedule and put an end to such dangerous speculative propaganda for these and future general elections,” he added.