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Thursday June 20, 2024

President-ECP discord may end up in court

By Muhammad Saleh Zaafir
February 20, 2023
A combo of President Arif Alvi (left) and CEC Sikandar Sultan Rajas pictures. — AFP/Radio Pakistan/File
A combo of President Arif Alvi (left) and CEC Sikandar Sultan Raja's pictures. — AFP/Radio Pakistan/File

ISLAMABAD: The tug of war between two constitutional offices — the Presidency and Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) — on the question of holding polls for dissolved provincial assemblies of Punjab and KPK and the general elections could take in superior judiciary again in the matter.

Highly placed sources told The News here Sunday the full-house meeting of the ECP would give the Presidency a “befitting” reply to its letter that had used somewhat inappropriate language in asking the commission to announce the schedule for that at the earliest.

The ECP huddle will take place today (Monday) before noon. The initial communication between two constitutional offices on the secretariat level has indicated that the commission is not in a mood to give in to any pressure.

It has been indicated that no consultation process could take place between the Presidency and the ECP since the matter is sub-judice at this point of time.

The sources revealed that the “90-days” constitutional deadline for holding the elections after dissolution of the provincial assemblies has been defied as timeline for filing nomination papers to holding polls and the mandated period of electioneering could not be met now.

For the elections for the two assemblies, whenever they take place, the government will have to invoke Article 254 of the Constitution that reads: “Failure to comply with requirement as to time does not render an act invalid:

“When any act or thing is required by the Constitution to be done within a particular period and it is not done within that period, the doing of the act or thing shall not be invalid or otherwise ineffective by reason only that it was not done within that period.” The sources said the Presidency in a high echelon meeting would strategise it next line of action today (Monday). The President would like to divert the perceived dispute in the corridors of superior judiciary and draw a line of action for that purpose in the consultations. The sources alleged out President Arif Alvi is acting at the behest of PTI Chairman Imran Khan who is keen to create one crisis after the other. Alvi, however, always maintains in his media interactions that he is neutral in actions as the President. The spokesman of the Presidency wasn’t available for his comments, while the ECP’s secretary level communication has already been made public.