President Dr. Arif Alvi emphasized the necessity to adhere to the “spirit of the Constitution” when determining decisions related to the upcoming general elections in Pakistan, according to an official statement. This sentiment was echoed during his meeting with the Caretaker Law and Justice Minister Ahmed Irfan Aslam at the Aiwan-e-Sadr, where various election issues were discussed. President Alvi praised the assurance given by Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar that the caretaker government will respect the Supreme Court’s ruling on the matter.
Earlier, consultations were held between President Alvi and legal authorities to discuss the Ministry of Law and Justice’s feedback on Chief Election Commissioner Syed Sikandar Sultan Raja’s stance on the election date. The Ministry asserted that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has the right to set or announce the election date without presidential involvement, as per recent amendments to election laws. President Alvi had sought advice from the Ministry following the ECP’s indication that presidential consultation was no longer necessary for scheduling elections.
Election Scheduling Amid New Census Data
The country faces an uncertain electoral timetable after the dissolution of the National Assembly and provincial assemblies in Sindh and Balochistan. The dissolution initiated a 90-day window to conduct elections, extended from the initial 60-day timeframe to accommodate the recently approved 7th Population and Housing Census 2023. The latest census, which reported Pakistan’s population at 241.49 million and a 2.55% growth rate, necessitates fresh delimitations based on the new data.
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) announced a schedule for new delimitations by the updated census data, slated to be officially notified in December. However, this process will extend for nearly four months, meaning that the general elections cannot proceed within the 90 days initially allocated following the dissolution of the assemblies. The ECP and other governmental bodies are navigating these complex constitutional and logistical considerations to finalize the election schedule.