Amid delay from the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) over the date for elections, Pakistan President Arif Alvi on Monday announced April 9 as the date for holding polls in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab - a move which the ruling alliance parties rejected, medie reports said.
The President announced the date by exercising his power under Section 57 (1) of the Elections Act, 2017, Geo News reported. He also asked the electoral body to issue an election programme in accordance with Section 57 (2) of the Act.
Last week, the President had summoned Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja for an urgent meeting for consultation regarding the date of the polls as he lambasted him over ECP's "poignant approach" regarding the general elections date.
However, the election commission had excused itself from holding consultations with President Alvi for the time being, saying that the matter is already under judicial consideration, Geo News reported.
Senior leader of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Talal Chaudhary, told Geo News: "Election cannot - and will not - be held on the President's directives."
Slamming Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan for trying to "become the President of the country", he said that the real President should be mindful of his role.
Chaudhary also said that as per the Constitution, the President is not empowered to set the date of elections, Geo News reported.
"He should refrain from making a joke of the office of the President, and the country," Chaudhary said.
Senior leader of Pakistan People's Party and former Senate chairman, Raza Rabbani, said that the President is not empowered to take the decision on holding elections.
According to legal experts, the date should be given by the Governor, and actual arrangements should be made by the ECP, Geo News reported.
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