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ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has recommended to the governors of Punjab and the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa that the dates for the elections of both the provincial legislatures be fixed on any date falling between the coming April 9 to 13 (Punjab) and April 15 to 17 (Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa).

In addition, the ECP has sought from the Finance Ministry an additional technical supplementary grant of 14.388 billion rupees to hold the elections of Punjab and KP assemblies as well as National Assembly by-elections.

In respective letters written to Principal Secretary Governor Punjab Barrister Nabeel Ahmed Awan and Principal Secretary to Governor KP Mehmood Hassan, Secretary ECP Omar Hamid Khan stated that Punjab Assembly stood dissolved on January 14 and KP Assembly stood dissolved on January 18.

The letters say that in order to hold elections of the two assemblies as per Article 224(2) of the constitution, the period of 90 days starts with effect from January 14 (Punjab) and January 18 (KP). The poll dates may not be taken beyond April 13, 2023, for Punjab and April 17, 2023 (KP), the secretary ECP informed the principal secretaries of the two governors.

The secretary ECP said that for completion of all activities mentioned in the election programme as per Section 57(2) of the Elections Act 2017, minimum 54 days will be required. Under this section, the ECP is required to announce the election programme within seven days of the announcement of the elections date.

Article 224(2) provides that when the National Assembly or a provincial assembly is dissolved, a general election to the assembly shall be held within a period of 90 days after the dissolution, and the results of the election shall be declared not later than 14 days after the conclusion of the polls.

Under Article 105(3) (a), the governor is mandated to fix a date, not later than 90 days from the date of dissolution for holding general elections to the particular assembly. Under Section 57(1) of the Elections Act 2017, the governor (in case of a provincial assembly) shall announce the poll date after consultation with the ECP.

The secretary wrote in his letters that the ECP proposes Punjab Assembly elections on any date between 9-13 April and those of KP Assembly on any date between April 15-17 “for completion of all electoral activities smoothly.”

Separately, the electoral body’s secretary has written to Secretary Finance Hamed Yaqoob Sheikh wherein the former has informed the latter that the total cost of general elections has increased from Rs47.417 billion to Rs61.805 billion and an additional technical supplementary grant of Rs14.388 billion is required for the conduct of the two assemblies and NA by-polls in the country in phases.

Meanwhile, the ECP Wednesday de-notified the NA memberships of 43 lawmakers from Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) whose resignations were accepted by Speaker NA Raja Pervez Ashraf a day earlier on Tuesday.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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