Pak Prez Arif Alvi asks PM Shehbaz Sharif to provide all support to election officials for Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa elections

PTI | Islamabad | Updated: 24-03-2023 22:19 IST | Created: 24-03-2023 22:19 IST
Pak Prez Arif Alvi asks PM Shehbaz Sharif to provide all support to election officials for Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa elections

Pakistan President Arif Alvi on Friday asked Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to provide all required support to the election authorities to hold the provincial elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on time.

President Alvi's move came as the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) announced that elections in Punjab would be held on October 8 instead of April 30 as it had initially said.

The assemblies in the two provinces were dissolved in January and as per law elections should be held within 90 days, though the Supreme Court allowed the ECP to slightly deviate from the deadline in an unavoidable situation.

In a letter, Alvi stated that the prime minister, as the head of the government, was responsible for safeguarding human rights as well as the fundamental rights of every citizen.

"It is further emphasised that all concerned executive authorities of federal and provincial governments should be directed to refrain from abuse of human rights and also to assist the ECP to hold general elections in provinces of Punjab and KP within the timeframe in compliance of Supreme Court's order dated March 1 to avoid further complications, including contempt of court," he wrote.

On March 1, the apex court had ruled that elections for the Punjab and KP assemblies should be held within the stipulated period of 90 days. It had, however, allowed the ECP to propose a poll date that deviates from the 90-day deadline by the "barest minimum", in case of any practical difficulty.

The president said that under Article 220 of the Pakistani Constitution, the executive authorities were duty bound to assist the ECP in discharging its functions.

Citing Article 46 of the Constitution, which states the prime minister will keep the president informed on all policy matters and legislative proposals by the federal government, Alvi said: "It is a matter of concern that no meaningful consultation with the president on policy issues has been undertaken by the prime minister in line with the above article".

Alvi also brought PM Shehbaz's attention to recent events where "glaring violations of fundamental and human rights" were committed so that the latter could ensure remedial measures and preventive actions.

"The incidents of human rights violations and oppression by state machinery against innocent citizens are in clear breach and violations of fundamental rights guaranteed by Article 4 of the Constitution, that provides for, and guarantees citizens to enjoy the protection of law and to be treated in accordance with the law," the letter said.

He also talked about shrinking space for media freedom and stated that Pakistan had dropped 12 points down in the World Press Freedom Index 2022 to 157 out of 180 countries.

"In recent months, media has been further suppressed and journalists have also been subjected to charges of sedition and terrorism to stifle dissent and criticism against the government. It appears that a reign of terror has been unleashed against the media persons who have independent opinions," the president said.

The letter comes as the KP Governor Haji Ghulam Ali wrote a letter to Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikander Sultan Raja that election in the provinces should also be held on October 8, thus going back on an earlier communication when he had proposed to hold election on May 28.

"Your good office must note that subsequent to my last letter, fresh wave of terrorist activities had taken place in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on daily basis," Ali said justifying the change in the date.

The issue of election has taken center stage in Pakistani politics as Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf of Imran Khan is pushing for timely election in Punjab and KP and early election at the center and the provinces of Sindh and Balochistan.

However, the coalition government, fearing that it might lose to the PTI was trying to delay the provincial polls with the plea that elections for all provinces and center should be held after August.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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