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Election for Punjab Assembly will be held on April 30, says President Arif Alvi

Gives date in response to ECP's letter
President Arif Alvi signs a document. Photo via Twitter/@PresOfPakistan
President Arif Alvi signs a document. Photo via Twitter/@PresOfPakistan

The general elections for the Punjab Assembly would be held on April 30 (Sunday), President Arif Alvi announced his decision on Friday.

“The President announced the date after considering the dates suggested by the election commission,” the president’s house said in a tweet.

Earlier, the ECP had sent him a letter, proposing possible dates for elections in Punjab. The letter was written after the electoral body’s meeting on Friday, which was chaired by Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja.

“The Election Commission has sent a letter to the president in light of the decision of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, in which the dates for holding the elections in Punjab have been suggested between April 30 and May 7, 2023,” the ECP said in a press release.

“The commission is ready to fulfil its Constitutional and legal obligations after the selection of a date by the president,” it added.

Moreover, the ECP said that it has also written a letter to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa governor in this regard.

The move comes just two days after the SC’s ruling that elections to the Punjab and KP assemblies should be held within the stipulated period of 90 days.

In its order, the court has instructed the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to recommend an election date to the president, who will announce the date in consultation with the ECP.

The court also said that the election should be held within 90 days to the maximum possible extent.

It said the election date should be announced in view of Sections 57 and 58 of the Election Act.

This case started when the PTI dissolved the KP and Punjab assemblies on Jan 18 and Jan 14, respectively. They are now ruled by caretaker governments. When the assemblies were dissolved, elections should have been called in 90 days but no one in authority was willing to set a date. A political tussle turned into a constitutional conundrum.

The PTI has been claiming that the interim caretaker set-up and the Election Commission of Pakistan were not setting dates for the new elections. At one point President Arif Alvi unilaterally announced his decision on February 20 that general elections for the assemblies would be held on April 9.

Later, the Supreme Court started proceedings to determine who has the constitutional responsibility and authority to announce a date for elections to a provincial assembly after it was dissolved in different ways. CJP Bandial set up a nine-judge SC bench to consider how and when was the constitutional responsibility of holding elections be discharged.

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