President Dr Arif Alvi has written a letter to the chief election commissioner, advising him to hold the general elections on November 6.
The letter states that the president of Pakistan dissolved the National Assembly on August 9 on the advice of the prime minister.
The general elections must be held on the 89th day of the dissolution of the assembly, on November 6, he further says, adding that to fulfil the constitutional obligations, he had invited Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja for a consultation on the elections.
However, he went on to say, the CEC adopted a contrary stance in response. According to the constitutional scheme and framework, this is the responsibility of the election commission.
صدر مملکت ڈاکٹر عارف علوی کا چيف الیکشن کمشنر ، سکندر سلطان راجہ، کے نام خط— The President of Pakistan (@PresOfPakistan) September 13, 2023
صدر مملکت نے 9 اگست کو وزیراعظم کے مشورے پر قومی اسمبلی کو تحلیل کیا، صدر مملکت pic.twitter.com/5W88oKxX62
The delimitation exercise is underway after the publishing of the census results in August, the letter says.
It also added that under Article 51(5) and Section 17 of the Elections Act this was a mandatory condition. The federal Law Ministry was also of the same opinion as the Election Commission of Pakistan, the president says.
The letter also states that the four provincial governments believe that the announcement of the election date was the mandate of the election commission.
There is a consensus on holding the general election to the National and all four provincial assemblies on the same day, the president’s letter states.
Under Article 48(5) of the Constitution, the president has the power to fix a date for general elections within 90 days from the date of dissolution of the National Assembly.
In order to strengthen the federation, promote unity and harmony among the provinces and avoid unnecessary expenses, it has been agreed that the general elections to the National and provincial Assemblies should be held on one day, the president said.
The letter further says that the Election Commission of Pakistan was responsible for observing all constitutional and legal measures stipulated under articles 51, 218, 219, 220 and the Elections Act 2017 for conducting free and fair elections.
Taking into account all the points, the election commission in consultation with the provincial governments and political parties under the relevant provisions of the Constitution and in view of the fact that some cases are already under hearing, seek guidance from the supreme judiciary to hold elections to the National and provincial assemblies on the same day.
Previous political legacy
A short while later, Election Commission Special Secretary Zafar Iqbal wrote a letter to caretaker Prime Minister Anwarul Haq Kakar, saying there was a common perception that the caretaker government was a continuation of the previous government.
“This was pointed out in a recent news conference by a political party,” the letter states. It adds that the party accused the caretaker government of carrying on the previous political legacy.
The letter also maintains that people with political affiliations should be avoided while appointing caretaker cabinet members.
Even when appointing senior civil servants to important positions, impartiality should be kept in mind, the letter adds.