President Dr. Arif Alvi’s potential announcement of the general election date is causing concerns about a potential constitutional crisis in the country, according to insiders who spoke to Express News on Monday.
Dr. Alvi’s five-year term as the country’s president ended on Friday, leaving uncertainty about his future role. According to the Constitution, he can continue as president until a new head of state is elected.
As the clock ticks, observers are awaiting the president’s next move. He has occasionally used his office to comment on political events, express intentions to mediate in political conflicts, and push for elections within the constitutional deadline.
Sources have revealed that the president is determined to announce the election date, but this could lead to another constitutional crisis if the situation persists.
It has been noted that Alvi’s legal team and the Attorney General for Pakistan have explicitly informed him that, following amendments to the Election Act, he no longer has the authority to announce election dates.
Earlier in the day, Caretaker Federal Minister for Law and Justice Ahmed Irfan Aslam met with the president to discuss the upcoming general elections in the country. The meeting was part of an ongoing consultation process related to the elections.
Meanwhile, the former ruling party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), has sent a letter urging the president to announce the election date as soon as possible. According to PTI Secretary Omar Ayub Khan, the Constitution requires the president to appoint a date for general elections within 90 days of dissolving the National Assembly, as stated in Article 48(5) of the Constitution.
The letter argued that since the National Assembly was dissolved by the president on August 9, 2023, on the advice of the prime minister, the date for holding general elections to the National Assembly must also be determined by the president, in accordance with the Constitution and legal precedent.
However, electing a new president requires the formation of the National Assembly and the four provincial assemblies, which can only occur after the upcoming general elections. Currently, the Electoral College is incomplete because the Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa assemblies have not yet been formed.
Arif Alvi assumed the presidency of Pakistan on September 9, 2018, after being elected on September 4, 2018.