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Pakistan

Punjab, KPK polls: Supreme Court orders elections in 90 days

  • In a 3-2 verdict, SC directs federal government to make utmost efforts and extend all facilities to the provinces for elections
Published March 1, 2023

In a 3-2 verdict, the Supreme Court of Pakistan (SC) said on Wednesday elections for Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s dissolved assemblies must be conducted within 90 days, Aaj News reported.

Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial, heading a five-member bench that included Justice Mansoor Ali Shah, Justice Munib Akhtar, Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail, and Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar, announced the reserved verdict.

Justice Mandokhail and Justice Shah dissented from the majority verdict.

In its ruling, the top court observed that the KP governor was in breach of his constitutional duty and should announce the date for elections. The bench directed the KP governor to appoint a date for elections in the province after consulting the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

For Punjab, the SC directed President Dr Arif Alvi to consult with the ECP and try to hold elections in the province in 90 days.

“The Election Commission is therefore directed to use its utmost efforts to immediately propose, keeping in mind ss. 57 and 58 of the 2017 Act, date to the president that is compliant with the deadline.

“After consultation with the ECP, the President shall announce a date for holding the general election to the Punjab Assembly.”

The SC also directed the federal government to make utmost efforts and extend all facilities to the provinces for elections. It also instructed the government to “ensure that the government of every province is carried on in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution”.

The issue of elections in the two provinces has been a contentious one.

Last year, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan had announced that his governments in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa would dissolve their assemblies to pave the way for fresh elections. This was eventually achieved last month.

However, delays over KP and Punjab polls remained. As per law, ECP is bound to hold elections within 90 days of an assembly being dissolved.

Last week, President Dr Arif Alvi had announced that elections will be held on April 9 following which the CJP had taken suo moto notice of the issue.

Tuesday’s hearing

On Tuesday, the bench considered the questions: Who has the constitutional responsibility and authority for appointing the date for the holding of general elections to a Provincial Assembly, upon its dissolution in the various situations envisaged by and under the Constitution? How and when is this constitutional responsibility to be discharged?

The Attorney General for Pakistan, Advocate Generals of Punjab and the KP, and the counsels of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), political parties (PPPP, PML-N and JUI-P), and even the counsel of President Alvi have said that under the constitution the governor is authorised to appoint the date for the provincial assemblies.

KP, Punjab elections: Supreme Court to announce verdict at 11am tomorrow

Previous hearings

On Monday, a nine-member bench, headed by the CJP Umar Ata Bandial, was dissolved and reconstituted to five members.

As the hearing began, four judges including Justice Ijazul Ahsan, Justice Yahya Afridi, Justice Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi, and Justice Athar Minallah disassociated themselves from the hearing.

Punjab, KP elections: The question of interpretation of statute comes in

During the hearing, the chief justice noted that the main issue before the Court is who would announce the date, adding after the date functions of the Election Commission of Pakistan to hold elections in Punjab and the KP would start.

Justice Muneeb said when the President of Pakistan can give dates for holding of general elections in 2013 and 2018 then why can’t he give a date for the elections of the dissolved assemblies of the Punjab and the KP.

The President acted under Section 57(1) of the Election Act, when the governors failed to appoint the dates.

Punjab, KPK polls: SC bench reconstituted to five members

On February 23, the SC had said it will not tolerate the violation of the Constitution. As per law, elections for dissolved assemblies must be held within 90 days.

The CJP said the SC has to see who has the authority to give the election date after the dissolution of the assemblies.

“If there is a very serious situation, the time for elections can be extended. But we have to see if the Constitution is being implemented,” said the CJP.

Punjab, KPK polls: SC says will not tolerate violation of Constitution

Comments

Comments are closed.

Abdullah Mar 01, 2023 11:56am
Lets cut the budget of supreme court and judges and use that money to fund elections as the govt does not have moneyband is still asking imf for money.
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A. Tahir Mar 01, 2023 01:35pm
A clear message for the Generals...follow constitution! Period!
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Matt Mar 01, 2023 02:03pm
@A. Tahir, and do not stand with crooks.
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Tulukan Mairandi Mar 01, 2023 03:10pm
More political uncertainty. Civil war likely soon
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Rebirth Mar 01, 2023 03:51pm
Champions of democracy, who promote their system through invasions, unrest, instability and violence all over the planet must foot the bill of the elections, including the campaigns of each and every candidate. Once elected, they must fund the perks and privileges of each member, chief minister, governor and pay off the circular energy debt created by the different so-called civil institutions and policing officials. Then, when the scum indulge in corruption, embezzlement and organized crime shoving millions into poverty by depriving them of healthcare, education, basic facilities like potable water and infrastructure, they must fund a 5-year Marshall plan for the destruction they caused by promoting a dysfunctional system of governance that is so very efficient in their Divided States of America. Let’s ignore other “democracies” like UK and Israel. Hallelujah for freedom, democracy and a rules-based global order that is on full display in Europe. Democracy isn’t fragile. Their ego is.
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KU Mar 01, 2023 04:37pm
They swear by democracy but don't want elections to take place, needless to say, hypocrisy at its best. Meanwhile, they are not aware of the socio-economic meltdown resulting from inflation which has crossed 30 percent, this will naturally lead to a rise in crime.
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bonce richard Mar 01, 2023 07:11pm
@A. Tahir, From the beginning, if we follow the rules and regulations we never beg for money from others. Fair election and no army interference complete the 5 years terms and go home. Our army and politicians are corrupting how the country develops.
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