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Thursday, May 23, 2024

PTI-backed candidate seeks delay in presidential elections

Achakzai unequivocally stated in his letter to the ECP that "the election ought to be deferred until the electoral college is duly constituted."

Mahmood Khan Achakzai, leader of the Pashtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) and presidential hopeful for the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC), has made a significant call for the delay of Pakistan’s upcoming presidential election, originally scheduled for this Saturday.

In a formal communication addressed to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) today, Achakzai underscored a critical concern regarding the numerous vacant reserve seats in both national and provincial assemblies. He contended that proceeding with the election in the absence of filling these seats would constitute a breach of law and constitutional principles.

Achakzai unequivocally stated in his letter to the ECP that “the election ought to be deferred until the electoral college is duly constituted.”

Additionally, Achakzai disclosed that the SIC has initiated legal action by submitting an application to the Peshawar High Court to address the issue of vacant reserve seats. He expressed optimism for a just resolution from the court on this matter.

As per the ECP timetable, polling for the presidential election is scheduled to take place on Saturday, with voting scheduled from 10 am to 4 pm. Incumbent President Dr. Arif Alvi has already extended his tenure following the completion of his five-year term on September 9 last year.

Under Article 44(1) of the Constitution, the president serves a term of five years from assuming office, but continues until a successor is chosen. Alvi is the fourth democratically elected president of the country to complete a full term.

Case pending in PHC

Presidential elections entail voting by both houses of Parliament and the assemblies. In the recent February 8 general elections, independent candidates supported by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) unexpectedly secured a significant number of seats nationwide.

However, due to the PTI’s election symbols being denied through a Supreme Court ruling supporting the ECP’s decision on intra-party elections, all candidates ran as independents. In response, the PTI formed an alliance with the SIC, with their independent candidates joining the party in all assemblies to secure their share of reserved seats.

More to read:Nawaz Sharif’s election petition turned down by ECP

Despite their efforts, the ECP ruled on March 4 that PTI-backed SIC candidates were ineligible for reserved seats designated for women and minorities. Subsequently, the SIC contested this decision in the Peshawar High Court, leading to a stay order preventing lawmakers from taking the oath until March 13.

Given this complex situation, Achakzai has invoked the PHC’s stay order as grounds for advocating the postponement of the elections.