In a major development, President Arif Alvi announced on Friday that elections in Punjab will be held on April 30, hours after the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) wrote a letter to him suggesting possible poll dates.
“President Dr Arif Alvi has announced to hold general elections of Punjab Assembly on April 30, Sunday,” tweeted the President’s office.
“The decision was made by the president after considering the dates proposed by the Election Commission of Pakistan,” it added.
Read more: Justice for Nawaz first, elections later: Maryam Nawaz gets slammed for her demands
The Election Commission of Pakistan today proposed Punjab election date between April 30 and May 7 in a letter written to President Arif Alvi. The decision was taken in the election watchdog’s meeting, which was presided over by CEC Sikandar Sultan Raja.
President Dr. Arif Alvi has announced the date of 30th April 2023 (Sunday) for holding the general elections of the Provincial Assembly of Punjab. pic.twitter.com/tktyD1hz73
— The President of Pakistan (@PresOfPakistan) March 3, 2023
The announcement by the President comes two days after the Supreme Court ruled that the elections to the Punjab and KP assemblies should be held within the stipulated period of 90 days. It, however, allowed the ECP to propose a poll date that deviates from the 90-day deadline by the “barest minimum”, in case of any practical difficulty. It also held that President Alvi and the KP governor will fix dates for Punjab and KP assemblies, respectively, in consultation with the ECP.
Read more: Imran Khan suspends ‘Jail Bharo Tehreek’ after SC ruling
The SC had taken the suo motu notice of an apparent delay in the elections of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, on February 23, following President Arif Alvi’s announcement of the date of polls, a move that drew strong criticism from the government.
Previously, the case was being heard by the nine-member bench but it split on Monday into a five-judge bench after four judges – Justice Ijazul Ahsan, Justice Syed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi, Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah and Justice Athar Minallah – recused themselves from hearing the case.