President Dr Arif Alvi on Wednesday invited Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja for a meeting by Thursday to fix an appropriate date for the general elections. Dr Arif Alvi, in a letter to the Chief Election Commissioner, said since the National Assembly was dissolved on August 9, 2023, therefore under Article 48 (5) of the Constitution, he (as the president) was obliged to appoint a date not later than 90 days from the date of dissolution for the holding of general election of National Assembly. “Forgoing in view, the Chief Election Commissioner is invited for a meeting with the President today or tomorrow to fix an appropriate date,” the letter noted.While the president has cited the constitutional provisions that elaborate on his role in deciding the election date, a recent amendment to the Elections Act 2017 empowered the Election Commission of Pakistan to announce the dates for polls unilaterally without having to consult the president. Alvi’s invitation to the CEC comes against the backdrop of the Election Commission of Pakistan having ruled out elections this year, following the notification of the latest 2023 digital census. Since the NA was dissolved three days before the end of its constitutional term, Article 224 of the Constitution mandates that elections be held within 90 days of the dissolution of the assembly. But at the same time, Section 17(2) of the Elections Act states that “the commission shall delimit constituencies after every census is officially published.” In line with this requirement, the ECP said last week the process of fresh delimitation of national and provincial assembly constituencies was expected to be completed by December 14 – over a month beyond the constitutionally mandated deadline for conducting general elections.