Alvi discusses polls with interim law minister stresses Constitution’s supremacy

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President Dr. Arif Alvi engaged in discussions related to elections with the caretaker Law Minister, Ahmed Irfan Aslam, on a Monday. Their meeting took place at Aiwan-i-Sadr in Islamabad, where Alvi emphasized the importance of making decisions “in accordance with the spirit of the Constitution.”

In response to their discussion, the interim minister echoed the sentiments expressed by the President. According to a statement issued by the Presidency, the meeting underscored the necessity of “upholding the supremacy of the Constitution.”

These discussions occurred amid varying viewpoints held by the president, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), political parties, and other stakeholders regarding the timing of the general elections and the authority responsible for determining the final poll date.

The ECP had already ruled out the possibility of elections taking place within the current year. However, it’s important to note that the 90-day deadline for conducting polls, following the dissolution of the National Assembly (NA) as stipulated in Article 224 of the Constitution, had concluded on November 9.

The ECP’s decision to postpone elections beyond November 9 was based on two factors: first, the necessity to await the results of the new digital 2023 census, and second, the provisions of Section 17(2) of the Elections Act, which explicitly states: “The commission shall delimit constituencies after every census is officially published.”

In the previous month, President Alvi extended an invitation to Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja for a meeting aimed at determining a suitable date for the upcoming general elections.

Within his letter to the CEC, the president referenced Article 244 of the Constitution, emphasizing his responsibility to ensure that elections occurred within the prescribed 90-day period following the premature dissolution of the National Assembly.

However, a recent amendment to the Elections Act 2017 had granted the ECP the authority to unilaterally announce election dates, eliminating the need for consultation with the president.

Responding to the president’s invitation, the CEC cited this legislative change and conveyed that convening a discussion with the president to decide the election date held “scant importance.”

Following these developments, the president decided to seek advice from the law ministry regarding the issue at hand. Subsequently, the ministry conveyed to the president that the authority to announce the poll date rested within the purview of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) after he had solicited their advice.

In a parallel stance, interim Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar reiterated this perspective during his inaugural interview after assuming office. During his appearance on the Geo News program ‘Jirga,’ PM Kakar stated that, in accordance with the law, the determination of the general election date fell under the jurisdiction of the ECP.

However, he did add that if the Supreme Court were to issue a binding judgment mandating elections to be held within the stipulated 90-day period, the caretaker government would abide by such a court ruling.

Muhammad Awais Raza is a student pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Sociology at the Government College University (GCU). Awais can be contacted via email at He is also available on Twitter under the handle @Awais_raza512