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ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court directed the Punjab Assembly Deputy Speaker, Dost Muhammad Mazari, to issue a formal notification for the convening of the Punjab Provincial Assembly session for the second poll of the chief minister’s election within one week.

The second poll for the election of the chief minister, Punjab, in terms of the proviso to Article 130(4) of the Constitution shall be held on 22.07.2022 (Friday) at 4 pm in the Punjab Assembly Building as suggested by Pervaiz Elahi, the speaker, Punjab Assembly and consented to by Hamza Shahbaz Sharif, as well as, Babar Awan, representing the PTI Opposition Leader in the Punjab Provincial Assembly, said the SC’s order.

A three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial, on Saturday, issued the written order of its July 1 proceeding on the petitions of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf MPAs and Speaker Punjab Assembly Pervaiz Elahi.

The order, authored by Justice Ijazul Ahsan, allowed “Hamza Shahbaz Sharif and his Cabinet to exercise the powers and function of their offices strictly in a fiduciary capacity to support the process of bye-election on 20 seats of the Punjab Assembly”.

“Such commitment to act as trustees is meant to fulfill the duty of care towards citizens of Punjab so that they are not deprived of due representation and governance and to avoid any constitutional vacuum, anomaly or complication. However, such entrustment shall continue only till 22.07.2022 when a second poll takes place in terms of Article 130(4) of the Constitution.”

LHC orders recounting of Punjab CM election votes

The Court said that the by-election, which will be held on 17.07.2022 against the seats, that became vacant on account of the defection of members of the PTI, shall be held in a free, fair, and transparent manner. The process shall be completed as per the schedule already announced by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP). The final result(s) and notification(s) shall also be issued accordingly. Any and all disputes arising out of or relating to such bye-election shall be dealt with by the relevant fora, in accordance with the law.

The ECP, as well as, all relevant State functionaries including members of the Parliament and the provincial assemblies, ministers, advisors, etc., shall ensure that all parties follow the election laws, as well as, the Code of Conduct issued by the ECP in their letter and spirit and refrain from any interference, inducement or influence in the affairs of the executive, the local administration, the ECP, etc., or indulge in corrupt and illegal practices, the use of State machinery in the process of bye-elections, harassment, intimidation or use of law enforcement agencies against opponents/ candidates or their supporters, etc., except to restore law and order.

No transfers or postings of officials of the local administration, police, Provincial Election Commission, etc., shall be undertaken in order to ensure fairness and transparency of the election except in accordance with specific provisions of the Election Act, 2017 and the Code of Conduct to meet emergency situations.

“Further, no fresh development schemes and/ or financial allocations shall be made in the constituencies where the bye-election is to be held till finalization of the bye-election. In the event of a violation of the provisions of the Election Act, relevant rules framed thereunder, or the Code of Conduct, the ECP shall take appropriate action in accordance with the law,” it added.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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