President Arif Alvi’s Election Date Announcement – Constitution or Election Act Amendments

Today national trending news on social media and media channels is the debate initiated due to announcement of election date by President Arif Alvi. Unilateral Election Date Announcement by the President Arif Alvi came as a surprise for PDM parties especially PML-N, since Deputy Secretary General PMLN Mr. Attaullah Tarar addressed a press conference and spilled severe reservations about the potential illegality of the situation. Mr. Tarar went on to address the constitutionally elected President, an Interim President. A term coined by Tarar and we don’t know what’s the reasons behind it.

The potential announcement has disturbed the balance of power between the recently passed Election Act Amendments and Constitution of Pakistan. Despite the letter written by President of Pakistan seeking a meeting on announcement Chief Election Commissioner, Election Commission of Pakistan has been mum on the election matter after the dissolution of National Assembly on August 9, 2023, which many legal experts have failed to understand and termed it as criminal negligence on the part of Election Commission of Pakistan. 

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Constitutional Mandate vs. Election Act Amendments

According to the Constitution of Pakistan 1973, elections in Pakistan should be held within 90 days of the National Assembly’s dissolution and the date of elections shall be announced by the President of Pakistan after conferring with Election Commission of Pakistan. However, the outgoing PDM government have deliberately complicated simple election matter by the approval of the 2023 census, which is challenged by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in Supreme Court of Pakistan.

Immediately afterwards, the ECP while exhibiting their swiftness announced a delimitation schedule and sought 4 months for completion of delimitation from the Hon’ble Supreme Court of Pakistan, effectively ruling out the possibility of elections in year 2023.

President Arif Alvi's Election Date Announcement
President Arif Alvi’s Election Date Announcement

President’s Constitutional Duty

In pursuit of performing his duty-bound responsibilities, President Arif Alvi invoked Article 48(5) of the Constitution, wrote to Chief Election Commissioner and sought time to discuss election date and connected matters.

However, the Election Commissioner of Pakistan outrightly dismissed the possibility of discussion on the subject and cited Election Act Amendments, specifically Under section 57 and 58, granting them authority to independently announce election dates. Many political and legal analysts have termed all these changes in election act to be in bad faith.

Legal Experts’ Perspectives on Election Date Announcement

Legal experts have also weighed in on this constitutional dilemma on announcement election date. Sardar Muhammad Latif Khan Khosa, while talking to reporters outside the court, specifically stated that according to the constitution of Pakistan, only President Arif Alvi has the authority to announce election date.


Barrister Ahmad Pansota also shared his views and supported President Arif Alvi’s decision to announce election date U/s Article 48(5) and termed it completely constitutional. It is pertinent to mention that Pansota also stated that President Arif Alvi is not subservient to any other constitutional provision. Moreover, he argued that recent amendments to the Election Act 2017 should be viewed as subordinate clauses to the Constitution and, in case of a conflict, the Constitution shall prevail.

Political Implications

Special Assistant to the Interim Sindh Chief minister, Mr. Mirza Moiz Baig termed the episode as illegal and pointed out that after Election Act amendments, ECP is free from consulting the president on election dates.


In conclusion, the debate over President Arif Alvi’s authority to announce election dates has brought into question the superiority of Constitution and recent Election Act Amendments. As stated above, legal experts all over Pakistan assert that the Constitution’s provisions grant the president independent authority, while the Election Act amendments introduce uncertainty.

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