President Dr Arif Alvi on Wednesday proposed November 6 as the date for the country’s general elections in a letter written to the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja. In the letter, the president said the National Assembly was dissolved on August 9 on the advice of then prime minister Shehbaz Sharif. Citing Article 48(5) of the Constitution, he said it “empowers and mandates the president ‘to appoint a date not later than 90 days from the date of the dissolution, for the holding of a general election to the Assembly'”. The president said that in terms of Article 48(5), the general election to the National Assembly should be held by the 89th day of the date of dissolution of the National Assembly, i.e. Monday, November 6, 2023. “In an endeavour to fulfil the constitutional obligations, the Chief Election Commissioner was invited for a meeting to devise the modalities of implementing the Constitutional intent and mandate who in reply took a contrary view that as per the scheme of the Constitution and framework of electoral laws, it was the domain of the Election Commission, and following publication of last preceding census on 07.08.2023, duly notified delimitation of constituencies was in progress, a mandatory requirement stipulated by Article 51(5) of the Constitution and section 17 of the Elections Act, 2017,” Dr Alvi said in the letter. He said that the federal law ministry was also of a similar view as that of the ECP chief, adding that all four provincial governments are of the view that the announcement of the election date is mandate of the ECP. There is a consensus that to strengthen the federation and to promote unity and harmony amongst provinces and to avoid incurring of unnecessary expenses, general elections to the National Assembly and the provincial assemblies must be held on same day,” he added. The president said that it was the responsibility of the ECP to abide by all the constitutional and legal steps stipulated under Articles 51, 218, 219, 220 and the Elections Act, 2017 for organising and conducting free and fair elections. “Taking into account all the above, the Election Commission of Pakistan in consultation with provincial governments and political parties under the relevant provisions of the Constitution and in view that some of these matters are already subjudice, may seek guidance from the superior judiciary for announcement of a single date for general election to the national and provincial assemblies,” he concluded. The president’s announcement came in the wake of divided opinions about the date for the polls among the stakeholders, raising concerns of another constitutional crisis in the country. Meanwhile, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), the party to which Dr Alvi belongs, was insisting that the president immediately reveal the election date. However, Caretaker Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Murtaza Solangi in an interview to a private channel had said that it was the ECP’s responsibility to hold free, fair, and transparent elections. “The election commission will announce elections’ date,” Solangi said, adding that elections were to be held according to the last census but completing delimitation exercise was necessary before that. Arif Alvi was elected as the President of Pakistan on September 4, 2018, and took the oath of office as the president of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan on September 9, 2018. His five-year tenure as the country’s president concluded on Friday.