Friday June 21, 2024

Crisis brews as Alvi holds ‘poll date’ meeting

Sources say matter of poll date was discussed in meeting of President Alvi with the caretaker law minister

By News Desk
September 12, 2023
President Dr Arif Alvi while speaking with the people in President House Islamabad. — APP/File
President Dr Arif Alvi while speaking with the people in President House Islamabad. — APP/File 

ISLAMABAD: As the matter of the general elections in the country hangs in the balance with the political circles divided on the timing of the polls, President Arif Alvi is expected to announce the date for the electoral process anytime, sources privy to the development said on Monday.

They said that the matter of the poll date was discussed in a meeting of President Alvi with the caretaker law minister, who was of the view that the announcement of the election date is the prerogative of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), reported.

The president continued his consultation on general elections in country. According to official announcement of the President House on Monday, Caretaker Minister for Law and Justice Ahmad Irfan Aslam called on President Alvi and held discussion regarding general elections in the country.

In his remarks, President Dr Arif Alvi said continuing the consultative process with good intentions will prove to be positive for democracy in the country. However, sources within the President House claimed that the idea of Dr Alvi’s likelihood of appointing a date is “wrong” as the deliberation on the matter of polls is still underway.

The has called upon the president to announce the date for the elections in a letter written by the party’s General Secretary Omar Ayub Khan.

The National Assembly and the provincial assemblies of Sindh and Balochistan were dissolved on August 9 with the president’s approval, providing the onset of a caretaker government to run the country’s affairs and hold the general elections.

“Under Article 48(5) of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973 when the President dissolves the National Assembly, he is to appoint a date not later than 90 days from the date of dissolution for the holding of general elections to the Assembly,” the letter read.

Meanwhile, in a television interview, Caretaker Minister for Information and Broadcasting Murtaza Solangi said as the elections were being held according to the latest census data and that the ECP was constitutionally authorised to fix the polling date.

To a question, Solangi said the caretaker law minister’s meeting with the president was the part of his official duties. The last government had made amendments in the Election Act, empowering the caretaker setup to take certain significant decisions such as enforcing international agreements and obligations, he added.

The minister stated that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) was a duly registered political party and there was no restriction on its participation in the electoral process.

PMLN leader Marriyum Aurangzeb said that Dr. Arif Alvi should give the date to vacate the Presidency after the completion of the presidential term. In a message on X, she asked the president to pick up his belongings and shift to the PTI Secretariat, adding that these economic and state terrorists and conspirators want only economic, constitutional and political crises in the country, not elections.

Addressing a press conference, PMLN Deputy Secretary General Attaullah Tarar also said that following the expiry of the constitutional term of President Alvi, the powers to fix the date for general elections now rested with the ECP.

The president’s five-year term ended September 8, which meant that now the ECP was fully empowered to announce the election date.

Tarar said as the notification for a new president had not been issued under Article 44 of the Constitution, Dr Alvi could now only carry out day-to-day duties of his office till the election of the new president.

As per the Constitution, it was mandatory for the president to follow the advice of the prime minister and the government, while the Election Commission had no more obligation to follow the President’s directives concerning the elections, he added.