Islamabad: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) demanded President Arif Alvi to use “better choice of words” when addressing constitutional bodies – after the supreme commander summoned Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja to an “urgent meeting” on general elections, media reports said.
The ECP on Saturday expressed displeasure over President Alvi’s letter written a day earlier regarding an “urgent meeting” for consultations over the date of the elections, The News reported.
Raja, in a letter written to the President, said that the electoral body expects “parental guidance” from the office of the President – which is the highest constitutional body – towards other constitutional bodies.
“We expect that there will be a better choice of words while addressing such other constitutional institutions,” he wrote.
In his letter to the President, the CEC said: “I would like to draw your kind attention to the constitutional obligations of the Election Commission of Pakistan under the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan and the Elections Act, 2017,” Geo News reported.
The letter said it is the constitutional duty of the election commission to organise and conduct elections under Article 218(3) of the Constitution.
A day earlier, President Alvi had summoned the election commissioner for an urgent meeting on February 20 (Monday) for consultation regarding the date of the polls as he lambasted him over ECP’s “poignant approach” regarding the general elections date.
With reference to the first two paragraphs of the President’s letter, the CEC said the commission is trying its “level best” to fulfil its constitutional duties “without any pressure or fear”, Geo News reported.
He said that the ECP had approached the governors of both provinces – Punjab’s Baligh Ur Rehman and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Shah Farman – for setting a date for provincial elections on January 24.
The commission also claimed that it had issued reminders to both the governors on January 29.
“It will not be out of place to mention here that the role of the President and the Governor of a province is clearly mentioned in Articles 48(5) and 105(3) of the Constitution, respectively,” Raja wrote, adding that the Constitution does not empower the commission to fix a date for a general elections to an Assembly in case of dissolution.
In the letter issued on Friday, President Alvi had claimed that he had “waited anxiously” for the commission to realise its constitutional duties to proceed and act accordingly, but he was extremely dismayed by ECP’s poignant approach to the crucial matter of appointing a date for provincial and general elections.
Expressing his displeasure at the “indifference” of the ECP towards the issue, he chastised the CEC for being lax and taking no steps to set the dates, Geo News reported.