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Sunday February 25, 2024

Punjab elections to be held on April 30, President Alvi announces

Earlier today, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) proposed a date between April 30 to May 7 for the polls

March 03, 2023
President Dr Arif Alvi. — APP
President Dr Arif Alvi. — APP

President Dr Arif Alvi announced April 30 as the date for the Punjab Assembly elections on Friday.

"President Dr Arif Alvi has announced to hold general elections of Punjab Assembly on April 30, Sunday," tweeted the President's office.

Dr Alvi's office said that the decision was made by president after "considering the dates proposed by the Election Commission of Pakistan".

Earlier today, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) proposed a date between April 30 to May 7 for the polls.

The Election Commission met today — the third consecutive meeting — with Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja in the chair.

The electoral body said that it has written a letter to President Arif Alvi in light of the Supreme Court of Pakistan's verdict. 

“The commission is ready to fulfil its Constitutional and legal obligations after the selection of a date by the president,” it stated.

However, in its letter to Governor Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Ghulam Ali, the commission said it is waiting for his response in light of the Supreme Court order.

‘Step in the right direction’

Meanwhile, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has welcomed the development and appreciated the ECP for taking a “step in the right direction”.

In a video statement, senior PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry said, “The Supreme Court, in its order, had allowed the president and the ECP to go beyond the 90-day time limit but had used the word bare minimum.”

“We think that the ECP has taken a step in the right direction and the president now will announce a date for polls.”

Congratulating the nation over the development, Fawad said it is a victory for PTI and the nation and the Constitution of Pakistan.

Supreme Court ruling

The apex court had noted in its verdict, on March 1, that in "ordinary circumstances" the polls should have been held on April 9 as announced by the president.

"However, we are informed that on account of the delay in the emergence of the date for the holding of the general election, it may not be possible to meet the 90-day deadline stipulated by the Constitution. It is also the case that (possibly on account of a misunderstanding of the law) the Election Commission did not make itself available for consultation as required under Section 57(1) of the 2017 Act," read the court order.

"The Election Commission is therefore directed to use its utmost efforts to immediately propose, keeping in mind Sections 57 and 58 of the 2017 Act, a date to the President that is compliant with the aforesaid deadline. If such a course is not available, then the Election Commission shall in like manner propose a date for the holding of the poll that deviates to the barest minimum from the aforesaid deadline. After consultation with the Election Commission, the President shall announce a date for the holding of the general election to the Punjab Assembly," it further directed.

On elections in KP, the verdict directed the governor to announce a date for the polls after consulting the ECP.