On November 6, 2023, the President of Pakistan, Dr. Arif Alvi, proposed holding general elections in the country, as outlined in a letter addressed to the Chief Election Commissioner, Sikander Sultan Raja. In his letter, President Alvi emphasized the need for both national and provincial assembly elections to be conducted on the same day, seeking guidance from the judiciary to ensure this.
The President referred to his consultation with the Prime Minister on August 9, where they discussed the constitutional authority granted to the President under Article 48(5) to fix a date for the dissolution of the National Assembly for the purpose of general elections. According to Article 48(5), general elections for the National Assembly should be held within ninety days of the dissolution of the Assembly. Thus, in accordance with this constitutional provision, the President suggested that the general elections for the National Assembly should take place on the 89th day from the date of dissolution, which falls on Monday, November 6, 2023.
President Arif Alvi underscored the importance of fulfilling constitutional obligations and requested a meeting with the Chief Election Commissioner to develop a procedural framework for implementing the constitution and its provisions effectively. However, in response, the Chief Election Commissioner took a contrary stance, asserting that the authority to call elections rests with the Election Commission.
He further explained that following the population census conducted in August, the process of delimitation of constituencies is ongoing, as mandated by Article 51(5) of the Constitution and Section 17 of the Elections Act. The Federal Ministry of Law and Justice supports the Election Commission of Pakistan’s viewpoint on this matter.
President Arif Alvi highlighted the consensus reached on the need to conduct general elections for the National Assembly and provincial assemblies on the same day to strengthen the federal structure of the country. He stressed the importance of the Election Commission acting independently and impartially while enforcing all constitutional and legal measures, including Articles 51, 218, 219, 220, and the Elections Act 2017. Additionally, the President urged the Election Commission to consult with provincial governments and political parties, considering that some matters are already under consideration, and to seek guidance from the judiciary to conduct elections on the same day in the national and provincial assemblies. President Arif Alvi’s proposal for holding general elections on November 6, 2023, and his call for the Election Commission to seek guidance from the judiciary reflect his commitment to upholding the constitutional framework of Pakistan and ensuring free and fair elections in the country. This development underscores the importance of democratic processes and adherence to constitutional provisions in the Pakistani political landscape.