ISLAMABAD: President Dr. Arif Alvi has penned a comprehensive letter to the Chief Election Commissioner, offering guidance on the scheduling of the upcoming general elections for November 6. In this communication, it is explicitly mentioned that the President dissolved the National Assembly on August 9, based on the advice of the Prime Minister.
The letter underscores that the general elections ought to take place precisely on the 89th day following the assembly’s dissolution, which aligns with the date of November 6. Additionally, Dr. Alvi emphasizes his commitment to fulfilling the constitutional requirements by extending an invitation to Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja for consultations on the election proceedings.
However, the President goes on to highlight a discrepancy in the response from the Chief Election Commissioner. Dr. Alvi asserts that, in accordance with the constitutional framework, the responsibility for managing elections lies squarely with the Election Commission.
Furthermore, the letter points out that the process of delimitation is currently in progress subsequent to the publication of census results in August. Dr. Alvi underscores the mandatory nature of this condition as per Article 51(5) and Section 17 of the Elections Act, and notes that the Federal Law Ministry shares the same perspective as the Election Commission of Pakistan.
The letter also indicates that all four provincial governments concur that the election date announcement falls under the purview of the Election Commission. It emphasizes that there is unanimous agreement to conduct general elections for both the National and all four provincial assemblies on a single day.
The President draws attention to Article 48(5) of the Constitution, which grants him the authority to designate a date for general elections within 90 days from the National Assembly’s dissolution. Dr. Alvi reasons that, to foster national unity, harmony among provinces, and to economize public expenditure, it is imperative to hold elections for both the National and provincial assemblies concurrently.
In addition, the letter underscores the Election Commission of Pakistan’s pivotal role in adhering to all constitutional and legal protocols specified in articles 51, 218, 219, 220, and the Elections Act 2017, with the aim of ensuring transparent and equitable elections.
In light of all these considerations, the President suggests that the Election Commission, in collaboration with provincial governments and political parties, seek guidance from the judiciary. This consultation is sought under the relevant provisions of the Constitution and given that some cases are already under judicial review, in order to determine the feasibility of conducting elections for the National and provincial assemblies on the same day.