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President not authorised to fix election date, CEC says in a written response

CEC Sikandar Sultan Raja decides not to meet President Arif Alvi for fixing elections date

The president is not authorised to fix an election date, the CEC said in a written response on Thursday.

Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja has decided not to meet President Arif Alvi to fix the date for the general elections, it emerges following an ECP meeting chaired by CEC Raja to ponder over the matter and concluded that the meeting would be of “scant consequence”.

According to the ECP [Election Commission of Pakistan] spokesperson, the CEC had sent a written response to the president, in which it mentioned that he [Raja] will not meet him to discuss the election date issue.

The letter says the last National Assembly was dissolved under Article 58 (1) [just days before the completion of its tenure] on the advice of Prime Minister [Shehbaz Sharif]. Had the president dissolved the legislature after it completed the five-year term, he would have enjoyed the power to announce the election date under Article 58 (2) which wasn’t the case, it added.

The CEC also noted in the letter that the process of carrying out delimitation had started on the basis of a new census.

A day earlier, President Dr Arif Alvi, in a letter to the CEC, said since the National Assembly was dissolved on August 9, 2023, under Article 48 (5) of the Constitution, he (as the president) was obliged to appoint a date not later than 90 days from the date of dissolution for the holding of general election of National Assembly.

“Forgoing in view, the Chief Election Commissioner is invited for a meeting with the President today or tomorrow to fix an appropriate date,” the President’s letter noted.

Saman Siddiqui

Saman Siddiqui, A freelance journalist with a Master’s Degree in Mass Communication and MS in Peace and Conflict Studies. Associated with the media industry since 2006. Experience in various capacities including Program Host, Researcher, News Producer, Documentary Making, Voice Over, Content Writing Copy Editing, and Blogging, and currently associated with OyeYeah since 2018, working as an Editor.

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