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Sunday April 14, 2024

Instead of impeachment, President Alvi to be replaced via electoral process: Bilawal

PPP chairman foresees president facing multiple cases for violating Constitution

By Web Desk
February 27, 2024
Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari speaks during an interview with AFP in Muzaffarabad on May 22, 2023. — AFP
Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari speaks during an interview with AFP in Muzaffarabad on May 22, 2023. — AFP

Coming down hard on President Arif Alvi for not summoning the inaugural session of the National Assembly, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari Tuesday said the head of the state would not be replaced via impeachment but the electoral process.

Speaking to journalists in Islamabad after the hearing of the Zulfikar Ali Bhutto death sentence reference, the PPP chairman said he foresees the president facing multiple cases for violating the Constitution.

"I think there will be two cases against President Arif Alvi for violating the Constitution [...] One for dissolving the NA after the vote of no confidence [against ex-prime minister Imran Khan] and another for failure to summon NA session as required by the Constitution," he said.

His remarks come a day after the NA Secretariat summoned the lower house's inaugural session on February 29 after President Alvi rejected a summary to summon the NA session on the 21st day after the general elections, as provisioned by Article 91(2) of the Constitution.

Alvi believed that the NA was incomplete sans the allocation of all the reserved seats to the political parties.

While the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has allocated reserved seats to political parties, it has not awarded reserved quota to the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) after the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-backed independent candidates joined the party.

The ECP, however, said that the matter of SIC reserved seats is "pending before the commission" and will be heard by the electoral body tomorrow after today's adjournment.

'Thankful to PTI, SIC'

Commenting on the PPP's decision to join hands with the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), the PPP chairman said: "How could we have distanced ourselves [from govt formation]?"

The politician questioned whether the country's economic problems would have been solved on its own had his party remained indifferent.

"If I say that I will not work with the PML-N then the basic problem of the people will not be solved," he added.

Stressing that the party decided to support the side that approached them, Bilawal questioned why the SIC was objecting to the formation of the coalition government by others since they didn't even approach the PPP in the first place.

"[We] should be thankful to the SIC and the PTI [for allowing] Shehbaz Sharif to become the country's prime minister unopposed," he added.

On the issue of the nomination of provincial governors, the PPP chairman revealed that his party's Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari himself would announce the governors' names after becoming president.

President trying to 'violate Constitution'

In a press conference in Islamabad, PML-N top leader Senator Ishaq Dar said that President Alvi was “once again” trying to violate the Constitution.

“The Constitution is clear: the National Assembly session should be summoned within 21 days of the elections. The president could have called the session on February 26, 27, and 28.”

Dar, a former finance minister, slammed the president’s reservation that the house wasn’t complete and added that the speaker just has to administer the oath to the members present at that session.

“The president has stated that he wants reserved seats allotted, but delaying the session is against the Constitution. It isn’t a good precedent to play around with the Constitution.”