ECP to decide polls date, PM clears the mist again

President calls law minister to discuss election date

Kakar says parliament has empowered the Commission to announce poll date n Caretaker govt has no intention to prolong its tenure n No restriction on PTI to contest elections n Operation against smuggling will continue n Terrorists can’t take away an inch of Pak territory.


ISLAMABAD  -  Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar Monday reiterated the Election Commission of Pakistan would decide about the date for the upcoming elections.

The prime minister, in an in­terview with a private television, said the Parliament had passed a law according to which the ECP had the power to announce the date for new elections.

Speculations regarding the elections should end which would be held according to the prevalent law, he said, adding, “We have no intention to pro­long the tenure of the caretaker government.”

He said as a student of the his­tory of Pakistan, he would ex­press gratitude to the Quaid-e-Azam for protecting rights of the Muslim minority and saving it from the domination of majority.

After seeing the attitude of bigger states against the minori­ties, he said, he could see that it would have been difficult to protect the religious and cultur­al identity of the Muslims if the Quaid had not secured an inde­pendent state for the Muslims.

He said he admired the Quaid-e-Azam for his constitutionalism, all-inclusiveness and for protec­tion of rights of minorities.

The prime minister assured that action against smuggling would continue and the writ of the state would be established.

“We are taking these actions so that the new government with its mandate can easily continue our work for public interest.”

He said the Apex Committee of Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC) included current military leadership, thus mak­ing the Council a strong consti­tutional and legal body which was taking firm actions and im­plementing decisions.

The caretaker federal and pro­vincial governments had good coordination which was help­ful in implementing decisions, he noted. He said the SIFC was focusing on economic reviv­al and on sectors of agriculture and mineral extraction. Howev­er, work would be done on ma­jor plans of investment so that they could be at an advanced stage when the next government would take over, he added.

PM Kakar said Pakistan had multifaceted relations with Af­ghanistan and had regular dis­cussions with it on issues of trade, terrorism, security and regional connectivity.

Both sides were talking with the realization that neighbours could not be changed, he added.

To a question about rising in­cidents of terrorism in the coun­try, he said the terrorists had now more latest weapons, night vision goggles and other equip­ment which had increased their capacity to fight.

However, he made it clear that the terrorists could not take away an inch of territory of Pa­kistan and the security forces would respond and manage the situation. The state would show its firmness against terrorists as in no condition anyone would be allowed to resort to violence, he stressed. PM Kakar said there was no restriction on the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) for taking part in the elections.

Talking about the incidents of May 9, he said miscreants re­sorted to vandalism and arson, and the whole incidents were reported by the local and inter­national media. The accused in­volved in the incidents would be dealt with according to the law of the land, he added.

He said Nawaz Sharif was a thrice elected prime minister and when he would come back to Pakistan he would be treated according to the law.

He clarified that he had no in­tention to start meetings with the leadership of political par­ties. To a question about the foreign policy, he said Paki­stan had good relations with all countries, adding China was on the verge of becoming the largest economy of the world and the Western world led by the United States was anxious about it and wanted to contain its influence.

Pakistan had adopted the pol­icy of Look Africa to improve its relations with that conti­nent which had a population of more than a billion people, he informed.

He said Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman would visit Pakistan on a mutually agreed time when both sides would be ready to announce projects for investment.

Responding to a question, he said Kashmir was part of body, soul and collective memory of Pakistan and Kashmiris aligned themselves with Pakistan.

The PM said sports includ­ing cricket should not be polit­icized and the issues concern­ing cricket with India should only be raised by officials of the cricket board. “We are making Pakistan a secure country for sports. But we cannot force a country to play in Pakistan,” he commented.

He said he met with vice chan­cellors of universities in a meet­ing during his visit to Quetta and now he would meet with of­ficials of the Higher Education Commission to resolve issues facing the education sector with a focused attention.

He said the government would soon decide about the issue of giving relief to the electricity consumers. Earlier in the day, President Arif Alvi held another round of consultation with Fed­eral Law Minister Irfan Aslam to decide possible dates for next general elections. 

“Federal Law Minister Irfan Aslam called on President Alvi and consulted on dates for next general elections,” said a short statement from the President House here. 

The statement said the meet­ing was held in the context of ongoing consultation for the general elections. 

The President said the contin­uation of consultation process with sincerity is positive for de­mocracy in the country. 

Credible sources told The na­tion that President Alvi is ex­pected to announce the date for general elections any time as he has completed the consulta­tions process. 

When asked to comment whether under the Constitution the president of Pakistan can give date for the general elec­tions, senior constitutional ex­pert and advocate of the Su­preme Court of Pakistan Hafiz Ehsan Ahmed Khokhar said that any announcement of the date for elections by the presi­dent would be against the Con­stitution. He further said that in such scenario, the Election Commission of Pakistan is not bound to act upon the advice of the president for holding gener­al elections. 

Khokhar further said that the process of Article 51(5) of the Constitution is underway in pursuance of delimitations and electoral roles which pre­vents president to announce any possible date for general elections, which may disrupt this process. 

Ehsan Ahmed said that pres­ident can only have the pow­er to announce the election schedule under Article 48(5) when vote of no-confidence is succeeded against leader of the house/prime minister in the national assembly and no one in the national assembly is able to become the leader of the house by getting the majority of the total members of the na­tional assembly. He said in such situation under the Article 224 of the Constitution read with 218 and 219 read with recent­ly amended sections 57 and 58 of the election act 2017, is the constitutional obligation of only ECP to announce the date for general elections, and not the president. 

Ehsan concluded that if the president announces any date for general elections, it would trigger a constitutional crisis in the country.

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