ISLAMABAD: After finding the Election Commission unsympathetic to his request for an election date, President Arif Alvi emphasised the need to holding elections in 90 days, during a meeting with caretaker Federal Minister for Law and Justice Ahmed Irfan Aslam on Monday.
President Alvi praised the caretaker prime minister’s resolve to act upon the apex court’s judgement on the matter.
A statement issued by the President’s secretariat said issues related to the holding of elections were discussed during the meeting.
President Alvi emphasised the need for upholding the supremacy of the Constitution, adding that decisions should be taken in accordance with the spirit of the supreme law.
According to Article 224 of the Constitution, elections must be held within 90 days after dissolution of the National Assembly. This makes the general election due in November.
But since the delimitation exercise is unlikely to be completed before Nov 30, elections may be pushed back to late January or early February.
According to sources, the Election Commission is considering announcing the poll schedule before completion of the delimitation exercise.
The ECP had assured the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) and the Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) last week that delimitation of the National Assembly constituencies and those of the provincial legislatures would be completed “as soon as possible”.
The Muttahida delegation was led by Dr Farooq Sattar and that of the Jamaat by Ameerul Azeem.
Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja said after meeting the two delegations the ECP would consult all political parties before finalising a code of conduct for the polls. They suggested that the commission enforce a limit on election expenses by political parties, as well as candidates.
The MQM and the Jamaat expressed concern over unconfirmed reports that polls might be delayed.
Published in Dawn, September 5th, 2023