In a letter to the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sultan Sikandar Raja, the president wrote, “Please refer to my letter dated 08th February, 2023 wherein Election Commission of Pakistan was advised to immediately announce the date for general elections for Provincial Assemblies of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.”
“Subsequently, Chief Election Commissioner was invited vide letter of even number dated February 17, 2023 for meeting on February 20, 2023 at 11:00 AM for consultation, in terms of Section 57 (1) of Elections Act, 2017, to announce the date for the general elections of the aforementioned Assemblies,” Alvi noted.
He added, “The Governors of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are not performing their constitutional duties for appointing a date, not later than ninety days from the date of dissolution of Provincial Assemblies as per the Constitution of Pakistan. The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) is also not fulfilling its constitutional obligation for holding polls for the Assemblies of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Both the constitutional offices are placing the ball in each other’s court, similar to the old Urdu proverb پہلے آپ، نہیں پہلے آپ, resulting in delay and creating a serious danger that constitutional provisions may be violated.”
The president maintained that section 57(1) of the Elections Act, 2017, empowers the president to “announce the date or dates of the general elections after consultation with the Commission”.
“Therefore, I have felt it necessary to perform my constitutional and statutory duty to announce the date of elections to avoid the infringement and breach of the Constitution and law i.e. holding of elections not later than ninety days.”
Alvi said that serious attempts for consultation with the commission as envisaged by Section 57(1) of the Election Act have been made vide letters of even number dated 8 and 17 February 2023, and inviting the CEC for meeting, however did not bear fruit.
He went on to add that there being no restraining order from any of the judicial fora, there is no impediment in invoking the power and authority vested in me under Section 57 (1) of Elections Act, 2017.
Therefore, the president exercised conferred upon me under Section 57 (1) of Elections Act, 2017.
“I, hereby, announce the date of April 9, 2023 (Sunday) for holding of general elections of the Provincial Assemblies of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.”
The president noted that the election commission is obliged under the law to issue election schedule in accordance with Section 57 (2) of Elections Act, 2017.