President Alvi, CEC Raja agree on February 8 general election date

President Arif Alvi (centre right) meets the ECP delegation and AGP Mansoor Usman Awan in Islamabad on November 2, 2023, in a still taken from a video.  - X/@PressofPakistan
President Arif Alvi (centre right) meets the ECP delegation and AGP Mansoor Usman Awan in Islamabad on November 2, 2023, in a still taken from a video. – X/@PressofPakistan
  • Chairman, AGP, ECP delegation met at Aiwan-e-Sadar.
  • AGP, CEC will inform Supreme Court about the decision tomorrow.
  • SC directs ECP to consult President.

ISLAMABAD: President Arif Alvi and Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja on Thursday agreed that general elections will be held in the country on February 8, 2024.

The development came after the ECP delegation led by CEC Raja and Attorney General of Pakistan Mansoor Usman Awan met Alvi at the President’s Secretariat to discuss the election date, a statement from Alvi’s office said.

“it was [then] It was unanimously decided that the elections would be held on Thursday, February 8.

The meeting between the parties was held on the orders of the Supreme Court, which had directed the Election Commission to consult the President and inform the Supreme Court about the voting date tomorrow (Friday).

The ECP – at a hearing in the Supreme Court today on petitions seeking timely holding of elections across the country – had told the apex court that the elections would be held on February 11, but the Supreme Court asked the commission to consult the President.

After consensus, AGP Awan and CEC Raja will inform the apex court about the decision.

The court – in an order issued after the hearing – had directed the AGP to arrange a meeting between the ECP and Alvi, provide the court order to the President and be available to provide assistance.

“We hope that the matter of fixing the date of holding of general elections will be resolved and this court will be informed tomorrow (Friday),” the apex court said in the order.

Major political parties welcome the development

The country’s three major political parties, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), had welcomed the ECP’s announcement that elections would be held in the country on February 11. , will take place in 2024.

Welcoming the ECP’s announcement, PPP’s Nayyar Bukhari said that his party has been demanding timely elections.

“An unelected person or cabinet has no right to rule the country…As per the Constitution, elections should have been held within 90 days,” he said. geo news,

Senior PML-N leader Ayaz Sadiq welcomed the announcement, saying it was a positive development and the process of holding elections had begun.

However, he said it is the job of the ECP to decide the election date.

PML-N leader Irfan Siddiqui told geo news The announcement of ECP is a positive development as it will ensure stability in the country.

He said, “I welcome this development even more because this announcement has come from the Supreme Court which has increased its sanctity.”

PTI’s counsel Barrister Ali Zafar termed the Supreme Court action as “historic” as it ended the ambiguity surrounding the elections.

Speaking to the media after the Supreme Court hearing, the senator said, “Someone said that elections will be held while someone said that elections will not be held. This is a worrying situation.”

Zafar said that the Supreme Court made it clear that elections should be held within 90 days of the dissolution of the Assembly.

He then called on the ECP to issue the election schedule as per the Constitution after consultation with President Arif Alvi as directed by the court. He said that after a long time the good news of elections has been received.

election puzzle

The country is engulfed in political uncertainty after the Imran Khan government was removed through a no-confidence motion in April 2022.

The Shehbaz Sharif-led government dissolved the National Assembly on August 9, while the Sindh and Balochistan assemblies were also dissolved prematurely to allow electoral authorities to hold elections in the country within 90 days.

Had the assemblies been dissolved on time, the electoral body would have been constitutionally bound to hold elections within 60 days.

However, the ECP decided not to hold the elections within the stipulated time as the Council of Common Interest (CCI) had approved the 7th Population and Housing Census 2023 a few days before the dissolution of the assemblies.

The CCI approval made it mandatory for the Commission to hold elections after fresh delimitations in the light of the census results.

Subsequently, on 17 August, the ECP announced the schedule of fresh delimitations to be done as per the new census results.

But in September, the Commission announced that general elections in the country will be held in the last week of January 2024.

In the same month, the ECP also released the provisional report on delimitation of constituencies. However, before the announcement, several petitions were filed in the Supreme Court against delaying the elections.

All the petitioners had asked the top court to ensure that the elections are held within 90 days.

These petitions were filed during the tenure of former Chief Justice Omar Ata Bandial, however, their hearing was not scheduled.

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