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ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) requested the apex court for early hearing of its appeal against the Peshawar High Court (PHC)’s verdict to postpone the second phase of Local Government elections in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, scheduled from March 27, 2022.

A two-member bench, comprising Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Ayesha Malik will take up the matter today (Wednesday).

The ECP, on Tuesday, filed an appeal seeking an early hearing of its petition against the PHC ruling. The ECP prayed that the hearing of the petition against the PHC’s decision should be fixed soon.

The PHC Abbottabad Bench, on February 4, had postponed the next phase of the LG elections. The high court had directed the electoral body to hold the elections after Ramzan, keeping in view the harsh weather forecast next month.

The court had also suspended the ECP notification dated January 20, 2022, regarding holding of second phase of the local body polls in 18 districts of the K-P on March 27, 2022.

The PHC’s Abbottabad bench issued the directions, while hearing a petition filed by a citizen, who contended that various districts in the province would be shut by heavy snow in March, following which the voters would struggle to reach polling stations under severe cold and through snow-covered roads.

The ECP had on January 20 announced the schedule and a code of conduct for the second phase of local government elections in 18 districts of the province.

The first phase of elections was held in 17 districts on December 19.

The PHC’s bench noted the ECP failed to take decisive action despite, various letters written by the provincial government and reports submitted by the Meteorological Department to the ECP for the postponement of the second phase of polls in the disturbed area(s).

The court also explained in its order that “there should be a set of laws and rules containing provisions with respect to all matters relying to, or in connection with the election.”

The PHC said it was of a view that fair, free, and transparent elections were not possible in the disturbed areas.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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