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Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial on Wednesday took suo motu notice of the delay in conducting polls in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and formed a larger bench to oversee the issue, Aaj News reported.

The CJP has constituted a nine-member bench for the case.

The case has been fixed for a hearing tomorrow (Thursday) at 2pm.

The bench includes Justice Ijazul Ahsan, Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah, Justice Munib Akhtar, Justice Yahya Afridi, Justice Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi, Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail, Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar and Justice Athar Minallah.

The development comes days after President Dr Arif Alvi announced that elections for Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa assemblies will be held on April 9 (Sunday).

In a letter, Alvi stated that he called a meeting with ECP on February 20 to announce the date for the general elections of the KP and Punjab assemblies.

“However, ECP replied that the commission cannot participate in a meeting on the subject matter with the Office of the President. The governors of Punjab and KP are not performing their constitutional duties for appointing a date, not later than ninety days from the date of dissolution of Provincial Assemblies as per the Constitution of Pakistan.”

The ECP is also not fulfilling its constitutional obligation for holding polls for the Assemblies of Punjab and KP, he wrote.

“Both the constitutional offices are placing the ball in each other’s court, resulting in delay and creating a serious danger that constitutional provisions may be violated,” the letter said.

He stressed that he was under oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

In response to President Alvi’s announcement, the ECP called an emergency meeting on Tuesday to discuss the issue.

Earlier, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-led provincial governments in the two provinces dissolved the assemblies.

Last year, Imran had announced that his governments in Punjab and KP would dissolve their assemblies to pave the way for fresh elections.

His party held a majority or was in a coalition government in two of Pakistan’s four provincial parliaments.

As per the constitution, fresh elections in both legislatures must be held within three months.

The Punjab Assembly was dissolved on January 14 after the Punjab Governor refused to sign the summary sent by former Chief Minister Parvez Elahi. As per the law, the assembly stands dissolved within 48 hours of advice made by the chief minister whether the summary is not approved by the governor.

A few days later, the KP assembly stood dissolved after Governor Ghulam Ali approved former Chief Minister Mahmood Khan’s summary for the dissolution of the provincial legislature.

Following an attack on a mosque in Peshawar, KP governor wrote a letter to ECP at the end of January to delay the polls.


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