Pakistan Caretaker Government to Support Election Commission for General Elections

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The caretaker government of Pakistan has clarified that it has no authority to determine the date of the upcoming general elections. However, the government has assured that it will extend full support to the Election Commission in organizing the elections in the country.

Regarding the issue of electricity bills, the government informed that it is necessary to involve the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in making decisions. The caretaker Minister for Finance, Shamshad Akhtar, is in contact with the IMF authorities, and a decision will be reached soon, according to the minister.

In response to President Alvi’s request for a meeting to decide the appropriate date for the elections, the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC), Sikandar Sultan Raja, stated that attending such a meeting would be of limited importance due to changes in the election law.

The president had cited Article 244 of the Constitution, stating his obligation to ensure the elections are conducted within the prescribed 90-day period after the premature dissolution of the National Assembly.

However, the CEC highlighted that Section 57 of the Elections Act had been amended by Parliament, granting the commission the authority to announce the date or dates for the general elections.

In cases where the president dissolves the National Assembly at his discretion, as stipulated in Article 58(2) and Article 48(5) of the Constitution, he is responsible for appointing a date for the elections. But if the assembly is dissolved on the advice of the prime minister or due to the passage of time as stated in Article 58(1) of the Constitution, the commission believes that the power to set the election date lies exclusively with the Election Commission.

The CEC also emphasized that delimitation of constituencies is a crucial step in holding the elections, following the approval of the digital census. The Election Commission is committed to its responsibility of organizing the general elections and has invited major political parties to provide their input on the electoral map.

Earlier reports suggested that the Election Commission has decided to schedule the general elections during the second week of February 2024.

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