All assemblies will be formed on Feb 29: ECP

Spokesman says voting to elect new President will be held on March 9 n It is mandatory to conduct presidential elections within 30 days: ECP n I will summon NA session on PM’s advice: Speaker.

ISLAMABAD  -  Since President Arif Alvi seems unwilling to call session of the National Assembly (NA) after Feb 8 general elections in the country, National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervez Ashraf will summon the maiden session the 16th of National Assembly.

President Arif Alvi refused to entertain the summary moved by caretaker Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs the other day, caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar will send advice to NA Speaker to summon the National Assembly session.

Under the Constitution, the National Assembly’s first sitting should be called anytime after 21 days of the general elections. The general elections were held on February 08. The President reportedly returned the summary of caretaker parliamentary affairs ministry, objecting to the proposed meeting of the National Assembly scheduled for 10:00am on February 26. Though the President over this act came under severe criticism but he raised concerns over incomplete reserved seats.

While exclusively talking to The Nation, outgoing Speaker National Assembly Raja Pervez Ashraf said that there would be no other choice except calling the first session of the National Assembly on the advice of the caretaker prime minister. 

“Yes, after watching situation, of course, I have to summon maiden session of the 16th National Assembly,” confirmed Speaker National Assembly. He said, according to the Constitution, President has to summon the National Assembly session within 21 days but so far he failed to do so. It is most likely that the first session will be called on February 29, 2024. 

Political observers say this matter was under discussion for last couple of days as important consultative meeting was called to discuss the issue. It was decided to wait until Tuesday otherwise Prime Minister will send advice to National Assembly Speaker in this regard. 

Also, the Election Commission of Pakistan will issue the schedule and public notice for election of the President on Friday. According to the proposed program, candidates will be able to submit their nomination papers to any presiding officer by twelve noon on Saturday. 

All the aspiring candidates can get their nomination papers from Election Commission Secretariat Islamabad and Provincial Election Commissioners of Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan from today. 

It is noteworthy to mention here that the ECP had already approached high courts on February 23 regarding the conduct of the polls for the top political slot slated for March 9, 2024, in which it advised the appointment of chief justices of the relevant high courts as the presiding officers as per past tradition. Elaborating on the constitutional bindings, the commission stated that it was mandatory to conduct the presidential elections within 30 days, and the first session of all assemblies 21 days after the general elections under Articles 91 and 130 of the Constitution.

 “All assemblies would be formed on February 29, marking the completion of the required electoral college for the presidential polls. The latest declaration came after the National Assembly Secretariat convened the lower house of parliament’s session on February 29 at 10am following President Arif Alvi’s refusal, however, the officers concerned asserted that they were under legal restrictions to commence the parliamentary business on the 21st day of the general elections under Article 91 of the Constitution.

Before the development, the president reportedly rejected a summary to summon the NA session, sources said, in which MNAs-elect will take oath as he believed that the assembly was “incomplete sans the allocation of all the reserved seats to the political parties.” 

While the ECP has allocated reserved seats to political parties, it has not awarded reserved quota to the SIC after the independent candidates backed by the Imran-founded party joined their ranks. The electoral body announced conducting hearings on the matter that commenced today. As per the constitutional mandate outlined in Article 41(4), the election for the president must take place 30 days after the general elections “

The schedule and public notice of the election of the President will be issued on March 1,” the spokesperson said, mentioning that papers can be obtained from the Election Commission, the four Provincial Election Commissioners. “A public notice will be issued on March 1 stating the polling day. Candidates will be able to submit their nomination papers till 12:00 on March 2,” he added. 

ECP begins issuing nomination papers to for presidential election

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Tuesday began issuing nomination papers to candidates for the presidential election. 

According to an ECP spokesperson, the candidates can submit their nomination papers at the Election Commission Secretariat in Islamabad, as well as the offices of provincial election commissioners in Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa till 12 noon pm on March 2. 

The spokesperson said that the schedule and public notice for the presidential elections would be issued on March 1. 

For any details, individuals could contact the ECP at telephone number 051-9219335, she added.

Quoting Article 41 (4) of the Constitution,the spokesperson emphasized that the presidential election must be conducted within 30 days of the general elections. 

She added that according to Articles 91 and 130 of the Constitution, the first session of all assemblies was mandatory within 21 days of the general elections. 

“By February 29, all assemblies will begin working to complete the electoral colleges needed for the presidential election,” the spokesperson added.

ePaper - Nawaiwaqt