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President Alvi asks ECP ‘immediately declare’ poll date for KP, Punjab

President Arif Alvi urged the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Wednesday to “quickly declare” the dates for elections in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab and to cease “dangerous speculative propaganda” on both the provincial assembly and national elections.

The Punjab and KP assemblies were dissolved on January 18 and 14, respectively, following former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s announcement that his governments in the two provinces will dissolve their assembly to allow for new elections.

Alvi stated in a letter to Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja today, that the election of an assembly must take place within 90 days of the dissolution, as specified by Article 224(2) of the Constitution.

He emphasized that the conduct and holding of elections was the ECP’s major and fundamental function under PART VIII of the Constitution, specifically Article 218 (3), which assigned the duty to the ECP to ensure fair and free elections.

The president stated that if the commission failed to carry out its tasks and obligations, it would be held liable and culpable for a violation of the country’s Constitution. Alvi reiterated that he was under the pledge “to preserve, safeguard and defend the Constitution” being the leader of the state.

He reminded the CEC and other ECP members of their fundamental duty under Article 214 and the Third Schedule of the Constitution, which states “I will discharge my duties…faithfully in accordance with the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan,” as well as the Elections Act, 2017, to avoid serious consequences of breach/violation of the Constitution/law and to announce the election schedule of the two dissolved assemblies as soon as possible.

The president went on to declare that one of the oldest democracies of the current age, the United States of America, was strong because “it has never delayed its elections”.

“I am of the firm belief that there are no such circumstances that can justify delaying or postponing elections; in fact, if such postponements of constitutionally mandated elections are evaluated throughout the world in recent history, they have morphed into serious long-term setbacks to democracy,” he stated.

President Alvi went on to say that the ECP had already taken a proper constitutional step by announcing bye-elections for National Assembly seats in diverse differently located constituencies.

“It will thus be in the best interests of things and in accordance with the Constitution and law, namely the Elections Act, 2017, to immediately announce the date of polls by issuing an election schedule and put an end to such dangerous speculative propaganda for these and future general elections,” he added.

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