President Alvi puts the seal on April 30 for Punjab election after ECP proposal

President Alvi puts the seal on April 30 for Punjab election after ECP proposal


A letter has also been sent to KP governor to seek date for polls

ISLAMABAD (Dunya News) - President Dr Arif Alvi on Friday gave assent to April 30 date to conduct the all-important elections in Punjab.  

The president's announcement comes minutes after the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) proposed dates for holding general elections in Punjab following a landmark verdict of the Supreme Court. April 30 falls on Sunday. 

In a letter to President Arif Alvi earlier, the electoral body recommended a day between April 30 and May 7 for elections in the province where assembly was dissolved in January last. The letter was dispatched after Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja chaired a meeting of the ECP officials. 

It also sent a letter to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Ghulam Ali Khan, seeking his response on holding elections in the province.

The assemblies in Punjab and KP were dissolved by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in January to seek fresh elections in the provinces. After the ECP and governors of both provinces failed to give a date for the elections, President Arif Alvi unilaterally announced that elections would be held in both provinces on April 9 as time was running out. 

Later, the matter was taken up by the top court through a suo motu notice which was wrapped up after quick hearings. The apex court ruled that the elections must be held within 90 days of the dissolution of the assemblies. 

The apex court declared the president's move to unilaterally announce date for elections in KP null and void, saying the provincial assembly was dissolved by Governor Ghulam Ali Khan and he was responsible for giving the date. However, the top court had upheld the president's notification of elections in Punjab as the provincial assembly was dissolved there without the consent of the governor.

Read More: Apex court upholds constitution by ordering Punjab, KP elections within 90 days

If it was impossible to hold elections in Punjab on April 9, the president and the ECP should change the schedule with consultation, ruled the top court. It said the KP governor deviated from his constitutional responsibility by not announcing a date for the elections. The apex court had also directed the governor to announce a date for elections as soon as possible.

Key Points of the Ruling

  • Elections must be held within 90 days of dissolution of assemblies
  • Two judges raised objections to the very admissibility of the case
  • President can announce date for elections when assembly is not dissolved by governor
  • ECP, president have been directed to hold consultation for fresh date for polls in Punjab
  • President’s notification of KP elections declared null and void
  • KP governor ordered to announce date for elections as he had dissolved the assembly

It ruled that Section 57 of the Election Act 217 empowered the president to announce a date for elections if the assembly was not dissolved by the governor. It said the polls should be held within constitutional timeframe. The apex court has also directed the federal and provincial institutions to assist the ECP in the election process.

Meanwhile, PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry hailed the Election Commission of Pakistan announcement and said it's a victory for the people of Punjab and Pakistan. He urged the president to decide the final date for the election. Announcing the date for election would help safeguard the constitution, he added.