Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif replied to President Dr. Arif Alvi on Sunday that his letter regarding the Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa elections read like a Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) press release which is “blatantly partisan in nature” and supports the Imran Khan-led party’s “one-sided and anti-government” views.
President Arif Alvi on Friday writes a letter to PM Shehbaz, urging him to ensure the implementation of the Supreme Court’s orders in relation to the General elections in both provinces.
The development came after the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had postponed the By-Elections in Punjab and KPK till 30th October that are initially scheduled to be held by 30th April.
In his letter written to PM Shehbaz Sharif, the president asked him to direct the concerned authority to hold Punjab and KP elections on time and take measures in order to not get involved in contempt court complexities.
The letter further reads that the Primer should direct the concerned authorities to avoid human rights violations on social and print media as it happened in the recent past.
After President’s letter, Prime Minister (PM) Shehbaz Sharif on Saturday held a telephonic conversation with Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo and his brother Nawaz Sharif after President Dr. Arif Alvi urges for ‘timely elections’ in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).
Premier Shehbaz Sharif also held meetings with Azam Nazeer Tarar and other PML-N leaders in this regard. The participants of the meeting proposed to give an ‘effective reply’ to President Alvi’s letter.
After consultation with party leaders and his brother and Party’s supremo Nawaz Sharif the Premier Shehbaz in his five-page letter response to the president stated that he is compelled to say that your [President] letter is more like a press release of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Pakistan.
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, in his reply, wrote that the letter did not reflect the constitutional position of the president and that is what you have constantly been doing۔ “Your letter contains one-sided, anti-government views that you express openly.”
The premier further added that on April 3, 2022, he dissolved the National Assembly and followed the unconstitutional directive of the former prime minister۔
“Your [president] order to dissolve the National Assembly was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court on April 7۔
He added that President Alvi failed to fulfill the constitutional duty to administer the oath to him as the prime minister under Article 91, clause 5.
“Despite the foregoing and several other instances, where you actively worked towards undermining a constitutionally elected government, I have made all-out efforts to maintain a good working relationship with you. However, the contents of your letter, its tone and language has compelled me to respond to it,” the premier stated.
“Regrettably and ostensibly due to your party allegiance, you have failed to note the sheer violation of laws, contumacious disregard of court orders, attacking the law enforcement agencies, damaging public property, attempts to create chaos, civil and poetical unrest and in short, to bring the country to the brink of economic default and civil war, by the PTI,” said PM Shehbaz.
He also criticized the president for not commenting on deposed prime minister Imran Khan’s failure to appear in courts.
The premier stressed that the incumbent government had ensured that there is “complete freedom of speech and expression, as enshrined under Article 19 of the Constitution”.
PM Shehbaz concluded his letter by saying that he is “fully aware” of his duties and the duties of the government. “Our government is fully committed to preserving, protecting, and defending the Constitution and ensuring that the fundamental rights guaranteed to the citizens of Pakistan are not violated,” he continued.
He said that the government is also determined to ensure that no one is allowed to violate the law, create unrest and attempt to cause irreparable harm to the state of Pakistan.
“I want to further assure you that our Government will thwart any efforts to undermine the constitutionally elected government,” he added.
ECP Delay Polls
On Wednesday Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) announced to delay of the Punjab by-Polls that were scheduled to be held on 30th April 2023.
According to details, the Election Commission issued the Punjab Polls Program notification issued on 8th March and decided to postpone the Punjab election and announced 8th October 2023 as the new date for elections in Punjab.
The ECP spokesman said that President Dr. Arif Alvi has also been informed about the postponement of elections in Punjab, adding that the new election schedule will release soon.
The spokesperson added that the elections were postponed under Article 218(3) and Sections 58 and 8C of the Election Act, 2017.
“A meeting with all the stakeholder institutions and departments was held to review the schedule of the Punjab election, according to the briefing, it is not possible to hold peaceful elections in the current situation,” the spokesman said.
Remember that on 8th March ECP announced the election schedule for the General election in Punjab.
The election commission announced that “Polling for the election of Punjab provincial assembly will be held on 30th April 2023.” The announcement from ECP comes after President Dr. Arif Alvi announced 30th April as the date for elections in Punjab.
“President Dr. Arif Alvi has announced to hold general elections of Punjab Assembly on 30th April, Sunday,” tweeted the President’s office.
“The decision was made by the president after considering the dates proposed by the Election Commission of Pakistan,” it added. ECP proposed dates for the election in Punjab after the Supreme Court directs ECP to issue the Election dates for Punjab and KPK Assembly.
Punjab and KP assemblies were dissolved on 14th January and 18th January respectively, and under the law, the elections were to be held within 90 days after their dissolution.
However, after the governors’ refusal to fix a date for polls, after which the Supreme Court took the Suo motu of matter and directed the president to announce the election date in consultation with the Election commission.
Supreme Court Suo Motu
The Supreme Court (SC) of Pakistan in its verdict ordered the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to hold elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa within 90 days.
The supreme court verdict stated that the Election Commission of Pakistan failed in discharging its role in the election. The announcement of the election date in KP is the responsibility of the provincial governor, while the president has the authority as per law and constitution to fix the election date in Punjab.
The verdict said the announcement of the election in KP by the president was ‘not right’, while he enjoys the right to announce the election date in Punjab, as the provincial assembly was dissolved after 48 hours as the government refused to agree on CM’s advise.
The verdict further stated a consultation to fix the date of elections in Punjab, if they are not possible on 9th April, the date announced by the president. “Article 254 of the constitution will be enforced if the elections are not held within the stipulated time,” the verdict said.