Election Commission of Pakistan decides to consult Attorney General, legal experts regarding KP, Punjab polls tomorrow
ISLAMABAD ( Web News )
A day after President Dr. Arif Alvi announced the date of elections in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) decided on Tuesday to consult the Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) and legal experts on the matter tomorrow (Wednesday).
In a press release issued on Tuesday, the electoral watchdog said that a meeting with the AGP and legal experts — the names of whom are still under discussion —has been called for tomorrow (Wednesday).
In a meeting presided by Chief Election Commissioner Dr. Sikander Sultan Raja on Tuesday, the ECP said the president’s move was discussed.
“In the meeting, it was decided that the ECP will continue to take decisions as per the Constitution and without any pressure,” the electoral watchdog said in the press release.
It stated that as per the law and Constitution, the ECP remained prepared to hold polls within 90 days. “But it is nowhere written in the Constitution and law that the ECP will give the date for elections.
“Albeit, after the date of elections is fixed by a lawful authority, the commission is bound to issue an election schedule and hold elections,” the statement said.
It went on to say that the meeting on Tuesday discussed President Dr. Arif Alvi’s directions at length and decided to seek guidance from the AGP and legal experts.
“In this regard, the AGP has been invited for a meeting tomorrow and for consultations, the names of two legal experts are being discussed,” the ECP added.
It is worth mentioning here that in a letter written to CEC Dr. Sikandar Sultan Raja on Monday, President Dr. Arif Alvi said the date has been announced under Section 57(1) of the Elections Act. He asked the ECP to issue the election schedule in accordance with Section 57(2) of the Act.
The president said that he was under oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution under Article 42 read with the third schedule of the Constitution.
According to the president, in the absence of restraining order from any of the judicial fora, there was no impediment in invoking the authority vested in him under Section 57(1) of the Elections Act, 2017, empowering him to “announce the date or dates of the general elections after consultation with the commission”. Therefore, he added, he had felt it necessary to perform his constitutional and statutory duty to announce the date of elections to avoid the infringement and breach of the Constitution and law.
Dr. Arif Alvi said the Punjab and KP governors were not performing their constitutional duties for appointing a date and claimed that the Election Commission was also not fulfilling its constitutional obligations with regard to the date of the election. “Both the constitutional offices are placing the ball in each other’s court, similar to the old Urdu proverb ‘pehle aap, nahin pehle aap’ (after you) thus, resulting in delay and creating a serious danger that constitutional provisions may be violated,” he said.
The president pointed out that the Election Commission had already indicated the possible dates of elections in its various communications to the constitutional functionaries showing its responsibility of holding the elections within ninety days.
In reference to his two letters to the ECP to reach a date for elections in the two provinces, the president stated that he had initiated a “serious consultation process” with the commission, but the ECP refused to participate in a meeting on the subject matter.
He said that in the exercise of powers conferred upon him under Section 57(1) of the Elections Act, 2017, he was announcing the date of April 9 for elections. He was of the view that the ECP was obliged under the law to announce the election schedule.