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President not authorised to fix election date, ECP tells Alvi

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ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Thursday responded to President Arif Alvi’s letter inviting Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja and stated that the president is no longer empowered to fix the date for polls after amendments in election laws.

The development comes in a meeting chaired by CEC Raja to ponder over the matter and concluded that the meeting would be of “scant consequence”.

Dr Arif Alvi, in the letter to the CEC, said since the National Assembly was dissolved on August 9, 2023, therefore under Article 48 (5) of the Constitution, he (as the president) was obliged to appoint a date not later than 90 days from the date of dissolution for the holding of general election of National Assembly.

“Forgoing in view, the Chief Election Commissioner is invited for a meeting with the President today or tomorrow to fix an appropriate date,” the letter noted.

In his response to the president, CEC Raja stated that the National Assembly was dissolved in terms of Article 58(1) of the Constitution on the advice of the prime minister on August 9, 2023.

The letter pointed out that Section 57 of the Elections Act, 2017 has been amended after which the ECP’s authorities have been increased regarding holding of polls.

“That prior to the amendment of Section 57(1) of the act ibid, the president was required to consult the commission in terms of Section 57 of the Elections Act. 2017, before appointing a date for the election. However, after the amendment in Section 57, the commission has been empowered to announce the date or dates for the General Elections,” the letter read.

It further stated that the president can fix a date for election if the NA under Article 58(2) read with Article 48(5) of the Constitution.

The Election Commission noted that if the assembly is dissolved on the advice of the prime minister or by afflux of time as provided in Article 58(1) of the Constitution, then the commission understands and believes that power to appoint a date or dates for elections rests exclusively with the commission.

“The commission believes with the utmost respect that the reliance placed on the provisions of the Constitution mentioned in your subject letter are not applicable in the present context,” the letter added.

The CEC also highlighted the issue of fresh delimitation after the approval of the 2023 census result which he said “is one of the foundational legal steps towards election”.

“In pursuance of the last preceding census officially published on August 7, 2023, the commission decided to carry out fresh delimitation of constituencies as provided under section 17(2) of the Elections Act, 2017, to protect the fundamental rights of contesting candidates, political parties and electorates as guaranteed under Article 17(2) of the Constitution.”

In response to the criticism over the delay in polls, Raja said that the ECP is taking its responsibility of holding the general election very seriously and has also initiated the process of inviting the major political parties to hear them on the electoral roadmap.

“In view of the above, the commission is of the considered view that participation in the meeting would be of scant consequence.”

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No “major breakthrough” in the opposition-led JUI-F and PTI meeting

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Maulana Fazalur Rehman stated that mending rifts in relationships and getting rid of resentment in an interview with the media in Islamabad with a team from the Tehreek-e-Tahafuz-e-Ayeen-e-Pakistan that paid him a visit.

While no significant progress was made at the meeting, all sides decided to keep in touch in order to plan for the future.

“A positive message,” according to the JUI-F chief, was received with open arms by the delegation. Taking a “united” stance on national issues was the primary goal of the meeting, he said.

Democracy is losing its appeal, and Pakistan’s parliament and constitution are losing their respect. In parliament, Maulana Fazalur Rehman continued, “we should have a single voice.”

Remarking on the event, National Assembly Opposition Leader Omar Ayub thanked the JUI-F leader for ‘warmly’ receiving the group.

We had a fruitful discussion in the meeting, he declared, urging the opposition parties to work with the PTI to “protect” the constitution.

Constitutional violations and a lack of a rule of law are the claims made by Omar Ayub. According to him, there was “no reason” why the police searched the PTI’s Islamabad central secretariat office.

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In the instance of illegal recruitment, Pervaiz Elahi is granted bail.

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The earlier-reserved court ruling was delivered by LHC Judge Sultan Tanveer Ahmad on Tuesday.

LHC had filed a post-arrest bail motion, according to the former chief minister.

On October 25, 2023, Pervaiz was taken into custody by the Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE).

From June 1 to September 18, Elahi has been arrested in a number of crimes; the most recent one was reported by the Punjab ACE on September 18.

More: Pervaiz Elahi’s condition “deteriorated” in Adiala jail; he was hurried to PIMS.

In the Punjab Assembly, Elahi illegally hired 12 people for grade 17 positions, according to information provided by an ACE representative.

In the provincial assembly, the candidates were chosen through record-altering.

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The bail petition of Parvez Elahi in the Jinnah House attack case has been rejected by the ATC.

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A bail application filed by Chaudhry Parvez Elahi, a leader of the Pakistan Tehreek e Insaf (PTI) party, in the Jinnah House attack case has been rejected by an Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) on the grounds of prematurity.

ATC Judge Arshad Javed announced the decision during today’s hearing.

The counsel representing Parvez Elahi contended that there was a significant likelihood of his client being arrested in relation to the Jinnah House attack case. It was stated that the ex-Chief Minister had previously been held in custody on judicial remand in other cases.

The petitioner requested the court to authorise the release of Parvez Elahi on bail in the Jinnah House attack case.

Nevertheless, the prosecution argued that the bail petition did not meet the necessary legal criteria, emphasising that Parvez Elahi had not been apprehended in connection with the case.

Considering these considerations, the court rejected Parvez Elahi’s request for release, stating that it was premature since he had not been arrested in the Jinnah House attack case.

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