Following President Arif Alvi’s letter to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) suggesting polls must be held no later than November 6, the US State Department has urged Pakistan to carry free, honest and well timed elections in accordance with the legislation.
During a press briefing on Wednesday, US State Department Spokesperson Mathew Miller was requested to touch upon Alvi’s letter to the ECP.
“As we do with nations all over the world, we urge Pakistan to carry free, honest and well timed elections, and to respect human rights and basic freedoms and the rule of legislation,” Miller acknowledged.
The US official additionally urged Pakistani authorities to “transfer ahead with the electoral course of in a way in keeping with Pakistan’s legal guidelines”.
Alvi’s missive was the fourth such letter written by the president to Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja concerning elections in the nation. In earlier letters, the president had instructed dates for elections to the provincial assemblies of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
On Feb 20, the president had unilaterally introduced April 9 because the date for elections for the 2 provincial assemblies. Later, he requested the ECP to carry polls in the 2 provinces on any date between April 30 and May 7. The Punjab and KP assemblies have been dissolved on Jan 14 and Jan 19, respectively.
Political specialists termed the president’s newest transfer “uncalled for”, as they have been of the view that by writing to the CEC, he had created an ambiguity because the president has not given a “clear-lower date for the polls and he has solely requested the ECP that the polls mustn’t transcend Nov 6”.
The president cited Article 48(5) of the Constitution which, in accordance with him, empowered and mandated him to repair a date not later than 90 days from the date of the dissolution for the holding of a common election to the Assembly.
Hence, “in phrases of Article 48(5), the overall election to the National Assembly must be held by the 89th day of the date of dissolution of the National Assembly, i.e. Monday, sixth day of November 2023”, learn the contemporary letter.
The president recalled that in an endeavour to fulfil the constitutional obligations, he had invited the CEC for a gathering. The CEC didn’t meet the president and took a opposite view that as per Article 51(5) of the Constitution and framework of electoral legal guidelines, it was the area of the ECP to determine the election date. The legislation ministry had additionally expressed the identical view on the matter and in reply to the president’s question, it had reiterated that every one 4 provincial governments have been of the opinion that the announcement of the election date was the ECP’s mandate.
The president stated, “Further, there’s a consensus that to strengthen the federation and to advertise unity and concord amongst provinces and to keep away from incurring pointless bills, common elections to the National Assembly and the provincial assemblies should be held on the identical day.”
Acknowledging that it was the ECP’s accountability to abide by all of the constitutional and authorized steps stipulated beneath articles 51, 218, 219, 220 and the Elections Act 2017 for organising and conducting free and honest elections, the president suggested that the ECP, in “session with provincial governments and political events beneath the related provisions of the Constitution and in view that a few of these issues are already sub judice, could search steering from the superior judiciary for announcement of a single date for common election to the nationwide and provincial assemblies.”
Pak US ties
During the press briefing, the US State Department spokesperson was additionally requested Pak-US ties.
“Pakistan is a vital accomplice, and we drastically worth the connection between our nations — each between our two governments and the individuals-to-individuals connections,” Miller stated.
He was additionally requested concerning the Torkham border points between Pakistan and Afghanistan, which began final week after a gun battle erupted between the 2 border forces.
“Obviously, we’d encourage these two governments to work collectively to resolve that situation,” Miller stated.