The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Monday formally declined the government’s request to reschedule the presidential election, which will now be held on August 6, according to the announced schedule.
Talking to The Express Tribune, ECP Secretary Ishtiaq Ahmed Khan said that the government had been informed of the inability of the commission to reschedule the presidential elections through a reply sent to the ministry of law.
Earlier, the government had requested the commission to hold presidential elections before August 6, citing the reason that parliamentarians might be observing Aitakaaf during the last 10 days of Ramazan.
Insiders in Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) told The Express Tribune that party chief and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif himself was interested in spending last days of Ramazan in the holy city of Madina.
However, a senior ECP source revealed that since the last 10 days of Ramazan would begin from July 29, it was not possible for the commission to hold presidential elections prior to July 29. He added that the government has asked for holding early elections and had not requested for a delay, which was perhaps possible.
Elaborating the possibility of delaying the presidential election, the official referred to Article 254 saying that failure to comply with the time requirement does not render an act invalid, with the article reading “When any act or thing is required by the Constitution to be done within a particular period and it is not done within that period, the doing of the act or thing shall not be invalid or otherwise ineffective by reason only that it was not done within that period.”
When contacted to learn whether the government was planning to request the commission for postponement of the presidential elections, PML-N secretary information said “that the government perhaps has no interest in delaying the election.”
If the government asked the commission to postpone the election and hold it after the by-elections scheduled for August 22, then 42 vacant seats in parliament would also have been filled.
According to the already announced schedule, the prospective candidates for the election to the office of the president can file their nomination papers on July 24 before the presiding officer. Scrutiny of nominations would be held on July 26. The ECP has appointed provincial chief justices of respective high courts as presiding officers for the election.
Meanwhile, a source in the PML-N revealed that the party has decided to nominate Sindh’s former governor Mamnoon Hussain as its candidate for the presidential elections. A formal announcement in this regard is likely today (Tuesday).
Earlier, the PML-N had shortlisted several names for the position, including Adviser to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs and National Security Sartaj Aziz, former chief justice of Pakistan Justice (retd) Saeeduzzaman Siddiqui and former governor Sindh Mamnoon Hussain as candidates for the presidential election.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 23rd, 2013.
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