Dr Arif Alvi announces 30th April as polls date in Punjab ECP formally began the process of holding elections in Punjab and KP. as it separately wrote letters to President Dr Arif Alvi and Governor KP. Haji Ghulam Ali,

Dr Arif Alvi announces 30th April as polls date in Punjab

Election Commission commences election process in Punjab, KPK

ISLAMABAD ( Web News )

President Dr Arif Alvi has announced the date of 30th April 2023 (Sunday) for holding the general elections of the provincial assembly of Punjab.

He announced the date after considering the dates proposed by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP). The ECP had proposed a poll date between 30th April to 7th May 2023 for holding general elections of Provincial Assembly of Punjab, and had further suggested to hold elections preferably on a Sunday.

Earlier The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) formally began the process of holding elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as it separately wrote letters to President Dr Arif Alvi and Governor Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Haji Ghulam Ali, requesting them to decide dates for elections in the provinces in line with a recent order of the Supreme Court.

The national poll body has swung into action just a couple of days after the apex court tried to settle the poll controversy and ordered the president and governor KPK to set dates for provincial assemblies’ elections after consulting with ECP.

Through the letter to President Alvi, the ECP has suggested that the president may choose a date between April 30 to May 7, 2023, right after Eid, saying the commission would be ready to perform its constitutional and legal duties when the poll date is finalised.

An official statement of the ECP states that it has sent a letter to the president in the light of the decision of the Supreme Court in which the dates for holding elections in Punjab province have been suggested from April 30 to May 7, 2023. After the president chooses a date, the letter read, ‘Election Commission is ready to perform its constitutional and legal duties.’

Further, the statement added, the ECP has also sent a letter to governor KP. While referring to the apex court’s order, the national poll body has stated that “the Election Commission is waiting for your response”.

The decision to send letters to the president and governor KP was taken during a meeting, which was chaired by Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja at the ECP on Friday. Members of ECP as well as the senior officers attended the meeting.

In the past couple of weeks, the political stalemate had turned into a significant constitutional crisis, especially, when President Alvi announced the date for elections in two provinces as his decision was called unconstitutional in the National Assembly within the next few hours.

The hard stance taken by all the mainstream political parties on holding elections in the provinces had pushed the country into a constitutional crisis at a time when the country is already facing a high risk of default.

Though the country has been embroiled in political, economic and constitutional crises for months now, the recent crisis started when former premier and PTI chief Imran Khan dissolved the assemblies in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in an attempt to force snap elections on the parties ruling at the center and other provinces.

However, Punjab Governor Baligur Rehman and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Governor Haji Ghulam Ali didn’t immediately give a date for elections in the provinces. The matter was subsequently taken to the Lahore High Court (LHC), which directed the ECP to hold elections within the stipulated time period of 90 days.

Following LHC’s order, the ECP consulted the Punjab governor to finalise the election date but failed as Rehman said he had not signed the summary for the dissolution of the assembly thus he was not entitled to announce the election date.

Meanwhile, President Alvi started writing letters to ECP and invited the CEC Sikandar Sultan Raja for an ‘urgent meeting’ on February 20 for consultations on the dates for the polls in two provinces.

The ECP, however, excused itself, saying it could not enter into consultations with him over provincial assembly elections as the matter was in court, adding the Constitution does not empower the ECP to appoint a poll date.

Upon ECP’s refusal, President Alvi didn’t hesitate to announce the date for elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. In response, the ruling alliance lashed out at the President for taking an unconstitutional step and even threatened to go for his impeachment.

The pressure was continuously mounting and the country was moving from one stalemate to another when the Supreme Court took suo moto notice of the polls controversy and not only ruled that polls should be held within 90 days but directed the President and Governor KP to decide dates with ECP’s consultation.

As a result of it, the ECP has initiated the process of elections in the two provinces by writing letters to the President and Governor KPK.