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PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court (PHC) on Tuesday sought written replies from the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Haji Ghulam Ali about the date for elections in the province.

A two-member bench comprising Justice Ishtiaq Ibrahim and Justice Syed Muhammad Attique Shah heard the petition filed by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) seeking a date for elections to the seats of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly.

PTI leaders Azam Swati, Asad Qaiser, Shibli Faraz and Shah Farman also appeared in the court.

The party had submitted a petition to the court stating that the elections must be held within 90 days after the dissolution of the assembly.

PTI’s lawyer told the court that the governor is not giving the date and is only making excuses.

During the hearing, the court asked why the governor has not yet given a date for the elections.

At this, the KP's advocate general said that the governor still has time to give a date for elections as per the Constitution, adding that the chief secretary has submitted a reply on Monday.

To this, Justice Ali ordered Governor Ali to submit a written reply by Thursday (Feb 16) in response to the letter sent to him by the electoral body seeking a date for the polls.

The PHC then asked what will be the future course of action if the ECP does not get the date. The court after issuing the notices adjourned the hearing till Thursday.

It is noted to mention here that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had sent a letter to the provincial governor, proposing dates for the provincial assembly elections between April 14 to 17.

However, Governor Ali informed the electoral body that it should give the dates for the elections itself in consultation with all stakeholders while keeping in view the prevailing security and economic conditions of the country.

The KP governor advised the ECP to “consult and take into confidence” political parties and law-enforcement agencies (LEAs) before fixing a date for the polls.

“In view of the alarming law and order situation in the province and series of terrorist attacks during the past days, it would be advisable that before fixing a date for the general elections, the Election Commission of Pakistan should consult and take into confidence the relevant institutions/LEAs as well as political parties, to ensure conduct of general elections in a fair, free and peaceful manner in the province,” said the governor in a letter he sent to Chief Election Commissioner Sikander Sultan Raja.

The governor was of the view that the law and order situation was worsening in KP and hinted at delaying the polls.

The governor said: “400 tribal elders have requested him that elections should be held after three to four months.”

“If a province demands to conduct a census first or intelligence agencies advise to postpone elections then how will the elections be held?” he added.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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