The date of April 30 for the crucial Punjab elections was approved by President Dr Arif Alvi on Friday.
Following a significant Supreme Court decision, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) proposed dates for general elections to be held in Punjab. Minutes later, the president made his declaration. The 30th of April is a Sunday.
“The president announced the date [for elections in Punjab] after considering dates proposed by the Election Commission of Pakistan. ECP had proposed a poll date between April 30 and May 7, 2023, for holding general elections of the Provincial Assembly of Punjab, and had further suggested holding elections preferably on Sunday,” a statement obtained from the President’s Secretariat stated.
The electoral board proposed holding polls in the province where the parliament was dissolved in January of last year on a day between April 30 and May 7 in a letter to President Arif Alvi earlier. Once Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja presided over a meeting of the ECP authorities, the letter was sent.
Also, it wrote to the governor of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Ghulam Ali Khan, requesting his opinion on holding elections in the region.
To call for new elections in the provinces, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) abolished the assemblies in Punjab and KP in January. While the clock was ticking out and neither the ECP nor the governors of either province could agree on a date, President Arif Alvi unilaterally declared that elections will take place in both provinces on April 9.
The dispute was later brought to the Supreme court via a suo motu notice, and it was resolved quickly. According to the supreme court’s decision, elections must be held 90 days after the dismissal of the assembly.
The leader of the PTI, Fawad Chaudhry, hailed the announcement from the electoral board as a “move in the right direction” in a video message posted to Twitter.