Pakistan: President Alvi urges election commission to set ballot date

This comes as the country's supreme court sits to decide the legality of the dissolution of parliament



By AFP

Published: Wed 6 Apr 2022, 12:16 PM

Last updated: Wed 6 Apr 2022, 12:21 PM

Pakistan President Arif Alvi told the election commission Wednesday to fix a date for a new national ballot, as the supreme court sat to decide the legality of political manoeuvres that led to parliament being dissolved.

The court must rule if the deputy speaker of the national assembly violated the constitution by refusing to allow a no-confidence vote against Prime Minister Imran Khan at the weekend.

Had the vote taken place Khan was certain to have been booted from office, but the move allowed him to get the loyalist president to dissolve parliament and order an election.

The opposition have cried foul and are refusing to cooperate with forming an interim government to oversee any ballot, but on Wednesday Alvi upped the ante.

A statement from his office said the election commission had been told to propose a date “in order to carry out the mandate of the Constitution”.

While the opposition applies its resources to the court, Khan effectively hit the campaign trail — telling party workers in Lahore late Tuesday that he would be more careful in picking candidates to stand for his Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party.

Whether the election commission has the capacity to organise a ballot within 90 days remains to be seen, with a watchdog group warning this week of “grave concerns” for potential violence.

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“The Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) has identified multiple constitutional, legal and operational challenges to the conduct of an early election,” said the group.

“Public confusion and political divisions that have already arisen as a result can potentially translate into violent expression.”

Khan has already blown anti-US sentiment into the political atmosphere by saying the opposition had colluded with Washington for “regime change”.

The cricket star turned politician says Western powers want him removed because he will not stand with them against Russia and China, and the issue is sure to ignite any forthcoming election.


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