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Friday April 12, 2024

President has no constitutional role in announcing poll dates: PPP senators

By Asim Yasin
February 21, 2023

ISLAMABAD: PPP Senators Raza Rababni and Shery Rehman have criticized the president’s announcement of election dates of provincial assemblies, saying the constitution provides no such role on the part of the president.

Former Chairman Senate Senator Mian Raza Rabbani said the President has no role under the constitution to announce the election dates for the Provincial Assemblies. “The Constitution, 19793, has been reduced to a green book with no soul by all stakeholders. It provides for elections within 90 days of the dissolution of an Assembly,” he said while rejecting any constitutional role for the President in this respect. Rabbani advised the President that he should stop pontificating on constitutionalism given the fact that, he accepted the Advice of a Prime Minister under Article 95 of the Constitution, 1973, and dissolved the National Assembly.

The former Chairman Senate while presenting the charge sheet against the President for his transgressions, said the president refused to give an oath to a prime minister and his cabinet, duly elected under the Constitution, 1973 and even refused to sign the Advice of the Prime Minister for the removal of the Governor, Punjab. He said later the president also failed to nominate a person to administer the oath to the Chief Minister Punjab as per instructions of the Lahore High Court and filed references in the Supreme Court under Article 209, Constitution, 1973, against sitting Judges of the Superior Courts.

Beside these, Rabbani said the appointment of two Members of the Election Commission in contravention of the Constitution, promulgation of Ordinance without application of mind in contravention of Article 89(1), Constitution, 1973 and removal of Ombudsman, which was set aside by the Islamabad High Court and filing of a reference in the Supreme Court under Article 186, Constitution, 1973, in furtherance of a political agenda – seeking interpretation of Article 63A of the Constitution. The Senator termed these transgressions as just a tip of the iceberg.

In her reaction, Minister for Climate Change Senator Sherry Rehman also rejected president’s announcement of dates for the elections of Punjab and Khyber Pukhtoonkhwa and termed it as unconstitutional and illegal.

“Has the president consulted with the ECP before announcing a date of elections in Khyber Pukhtoonkhwa and Punjab because he cannot do this on his own,” said Minister for Climate Change Senator Sherry Rehman while rejecting the announcement of election dates for elections for provincial assemblies of Punjab and Khyber Pukhtoonkhwa. The federal minister who is also the PPPP’s vice president said the President has also violated Article 57 (1) of the Election Act 2017 in haste. “The Election Act empowers the President to announce “general elections” only after consulting the Election Commission of Pakistan,” she said. She said the President has announced the date of elections of two provincial assemblies without consultations. According to the constitution, she said provincial elections should be announced by the governor of the province after consultation with the Election Commission of Pakistan, not by the President. The president is flouting the constitution and law to please Imran Khan. “The president should respect his position and powers,” she said.