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President Alvi asks ECP to immediately announce date for KP, Punjab polls

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President Alvi asks ECP to immediately announce date for KP, Punjab polls

President Arif Alvi has asked the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to immediately announce the date of elections for provincial assemblies of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab to “put an end to dangerous speculative propaganda”.

The president has written a letter to Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja as the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has been demanding the KP and Punjab governors, and ECP to announce date for elections since the dissolution of the provincial assemblies last month.

In the letter, Mr Alvi referred to the dissolution of the provincial assemblies of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and said “the election of an Assembly is to be held within 90 days of the dissolution as provided by the Article 224(2) of the Constitution”. He added that the conduct and holding of elections was the primary and essential duty of the ECP as per PART VIII of the Constitution, particularly Article 218 (3) which assigned the duty to the ECP to ensure the holding of fair and free elections.

He conveyed that it was ultimately the Commission which, if it failed to discharge its functions and duties, was to be held responsible and answerable for the violation of the Constitution of the country.

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“Referring to Article 42 and Third Schedule, the president stressed that he was under oath ‘to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution’ being the Head of State,” reads the press release. He reminded the CEC and the members of the ECP about their fundamental duty as per their oath to avoid serious consequences of breach/violation of the Constitution/law and announce election schedule of the two dissolved assemblies forthwith. 

Highlighting the significance of the Preamble/Objectives Resolution, the president said the preamble stated in unambiguous words that ‘the State shall exercise its power and authority through the chosen representatives of the people’.

“Such is the unflinching resolve and commitment by the forefathers of the Nation who drafted the Objectives Resolution duly made part of the Constitution (Article 2A). Thus, there remains no obscurity about the democratic principles and values that are to be adhered to, observed and followed”, he further wrote.

He emphasised that the oldest democracies had never delayed elections even during wars. In this regard, he quoted the examples of the USA which held elections despite being at war with Great Britain in 1812 under President James Madison. He further stated that in 1864 during the American Civil War, top advisers of the then president, Abraham Lincoln, wanted to postpone elections due to the Civil War but he disagreed with them, and even though he thought that he was going to lose the elections, he never really contemplated suspending the elections.

He said the Commission itself had already taken an appropriate constitutional step and had announced the holding of bye-elections of National Assembly seats of different constituencies. The president concluded that he was of the firm view that there were no such circumstances in the country that provided any justification for delaying or postponing the elections.

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He stressed that recent world history had shown that the postponement of constitutionally-mandated elections had caused serious long-term setbacks to democracy.

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Pakistan mourns President Raisi’s death; PM, president express sorrow

Pakistan mourns President Raisi’s death; PM, president express sorrow

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Pakistan mourns President Raisi's death; PM, president express sorrow

 Pakistan is observing a day of mourning today to express solidarity with the people of Iran following the shocking news of the death of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi in a helicopter crash in the country’s northwest.

“Pakistan will observe a day of mourning, and the flag will fly at half-mast as a mark of respect for President Raisi and his companions and in solidarity with Brotherly Iran,” Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif wrote in a post on social media platform X, expressing shock over the demise.

“Had been anxiously following developments regarding the reported crash landing of President Raisi’s helicopter. Was hoping for good news. Alas, this was not to be,” PM Shehbaz remarked as he extended deepest condolences and sympathies to the Iranian people on behalf of the government and people of Pakistan.

Shehbaz prayed that may Allah grant the martyrs a high place in Jannat al-Firdous and give patience to their families and the Iranian nation for this tragedy.

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“Pakistan had the pleasure of hosting President Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian on a historic visit less than a month ago. They were good friends of Pakistan,” the premier added in his post.

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Turkish FM meets COAS Munir, lauds army’s role for regional peace, stability

Turkish FM meets COAS Munir, lauds army’s role for regional peace, stability

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Turkish FM meets COAS Munir, lauds army's role for regional peace, stability

 Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan called on Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Asim Munir here on Monday.

According to the military’s media wing, the army chief and the Turkish minister discussed matters of mutual interest during the meeting.

The Turkish minister appreciated the role of the Pakistan Army in maintaining peace and stability in the region, the ISPR said in a statement.

The two leaders expressed their satisfaction at the deep bilateral relations based on historical, cultural and religious ties between the two countries.

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Foreign Minister of Turkiye Hakan Fidan arrived in Pakistan for a two-day official visit on Sunday.

According to the Foreign Office, Additional Foreign Secretary Ahmed Naseem Warraich received the foreign dignitary at the airport.

The Turkish minister will also hold a meeting with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, a spokesperson for the Foreign Office said.

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LHC gives Punjab government ultimatum for judges’ appointment

LHC gives Punjab government ultimatum for judges’ appointment

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LHC gives Punjab government ultimatum for judges' appointment

The Lahore High Court (LHC) has issued an ultimatum to the Punjab government regarding the appointment of judges.

Chief Justice Shehzad Ahmed Khan presided over a hearing on the Punjab government’s petition to transfer cases from LHC’s anti-terrorism court 1 Rawalpindi to another court.

During the proceedings, the advocate general Punjab informed the court that a government committee had consulted with Punjab Chief Minister on the matter of judges’ appointment, assuring that it had been prioritized for the upcoming cabinet session.

However, Chief Justice Khan inquired about the timeline for the next cabinet session, expressing dissatisfaction with the absence of immediate action.

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The Chief Justice ruled that either a special cabinet meeting should have been called or the government committee should have appeared before the court after completing its task.

In response, the advocate general assured that the matter would be resolved in the cabinet session scheduled for Friday.

Expressing dismay over the absence of the government committee in court, Chief Justice Khan deemed it disrespectful.

The advocate general promptly promised the committee’s presence within half an hour upon receiving the court’s call order.

Consequently, the court directed the Punjab CM and the cabinet to issue a notification regarding judges’ appointment before the next hearing.

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The court also warned that if the notification was not issued by then, the Punjab Chief Minister would be required to appear in the next hearing.

Addressing any potential concerns, the advocate general clarified that the government had no objections to the names recommended by the court for judges’ appointment.

Consequently, the case hearing has been adjourned until May 24.

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