Election Commission Chief of Islamabad, Sikander Sultan Raja, has decided not to meet with the President of the country, Dr. Arif Alvi. He responded to the President’s letter regarding the date of the general elections. In the letter, Raja stated that the Election Commission views the President’s office with great respect. After the amendment to Section 57 of the Electoral Act, the authority to provide dates or date ranges for elections lies with the Election Commission. The Election Commission will determine the election dates.
The President can dissolve the assembly under Article 58 of the Constitution, in certain circumstances, which could allow him to set the election date. However, the conditions outlined in the President’s letter are not applicable to the current situation. Following the approval of digital population census, delimitation of constituencies has become one of the foundational legal steps towards holding elections. The Election Commission is taking its responsibility for conducting general elections in the country very seriously and has also invited political parties to provide their input on the elections.
In a response letter to the President on Thursday, the Chief Election Commissioner wrote that under Article 58 of the Constitution, the President acted on the Prime Minister’s advice to dissolve the National Assembly on August 9. Now, with the amendment to Section 57 of the Election Act on June 26, the Election Commission has the authority to set the election date or dates. According to the letter, Article 48 of the Constitution should be read along with Article 58 of the Constitution. If the National Assembly is dissolved on the Prime Minister’s recommendation, the Election Commission has the authority to set the date for general elections.
The letter mentioned that constituency delimitation is underway in the country at the moment. The Election Commission has also decided to conduct delimitation under Section 17-A of the Election Act. This decision aims to protect the rights of candidates, politicians, and voters by ensuring a fair constituency demarcation process. The Election Commission is committed to ensuring the integrity of the electoral process.