PESHAWAR: The governor of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and members of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) are set to convene a consultative meeting to determine the date of the general elections in the third most populous and economically significant province of Pakistan.
Governor Haji Ghulam Ali initiated the meeting by suggesting March 7 or 8 as potential dates, prompting the commission to form a consultation team consisting of the secretary, special secretary, and director general of legal affairs.
In response to the commission’s team formation, Ali confirmed March 8 as the consultation date and requested that the ECP be prepared to discuss all matters relevant to ensuring a peaceful election.
As per the Constitution, the ECP holds the responsibility of conducting elections, with support from law enforcement agencies and the caretaker government in maintaining peace during the electoral process.
On March 1, the Supreme Court ordered general elections in the provinces of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa must be held within 90 days in a bid to quash fears a fledgling democratic process is about to be derailed.
“Parliamentary democracy is one of the salient features of the Constitution. There can be no parliamentary democracy without parliament or the provincial assemblies […] Elections, and the periodic holding of elections, therefore, underpin the very fabric of the Constitution,” the court order read.
President Arif Alvi, who is a member of Imran Khan’s party, announced April 9 as the election date for two provinces after the former prime minister requested the chief ministers to dissolve their assemblies in a bid to force early elections.
However, the announcement created a constitutional crisis, with experts questioning the president’s right to make such a decision. The Supreme Court intervened to determine which government institution holds the constitutional responsibility of deciding the poll dates, as per the Constitution, elections must be held within 90 days after the dissolution of a parliament.
The national elections are due to be held by October this year.