ECP to consult AGP after President’s announcement of Polls date

By Anzal Amin

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) Tuesday held a meeting to review the situa-tion evolving after President Arif Alvi’s unilateral announcement of the date for elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and decided to consult Attorney General for Pakistan and other legal ex-perts.
In a statement issued after the meeting, the ECP said all the members of the commission attended today’s huddle chaired by Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja.
The meeting was called to discuss the situation after the president’s fixation of April 9 as the date for the polls of provincial assemblies.
On Monday, the president announced the date by exercising his power under Section 57 (1) of the Elections Act, 2017, and further asked the ECP to issue an election programme in accordance with Sec-tion 57 (2) of the Act.
Dr Alvi’s move was rejected by the federal ministers who were of the view that the president had ab-rogated the Constitution and he had no right to announce the date.
The ECP stated that “the commission has been and will continue to make decisions without any pres-sure according to the Constitution and law”.
It added that the ECP is always ready to conduct an election within 90 days as per the Constitution and law, but nowhere in the Constitution, it is written that the commission will give the date for the elec-tion.
However, the electoral body is bound to announce the election schedule immediately after a date is fixed by a competent authority, it added.
“The announcement of the date by the president was considered in detail in the meeting of the com-mission today and it was decided to take further guidance from the Attorney General for Pakistan and other legal experts,” the statement added.
In this regard, the ECP said, the AGP has been invited today (Wednesday) and two constitutional ex-perts are being selected for consultation.