- Electoral watchdog says fresh schedule will be issued in due course of time
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) postponed the Punjab elections till October 8, saying that a new schedule will be issued in due course of time, Aaj News reported on Wednesday.
In the order, the ECP said that in the exercise of the powers conferred upon it by Article 218(3) read with Section 58 and Section 8(c) of the Elections Act, 2017, the commission “hereby withdraws the election program […], and fresh schedule will be issued in due course of time with the poll date on October 8”.
Earlier, ECP had announced to hold polls for the dissolved assembly of Punjab on April 30.
The electoral watchdog said the decision was reached after taking all stakeholders on board.
President Dr Arif Alvi, earlier this month, announced that general elections for the provincial assembly of Punjab would be held on April 30.
According to the President of Pakistan’s official Twitter handle, the date was decided after considering the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) proposal that suggested holding elections for the Punjab provincial assembly between April 30 and May 7.
The ECP conveyed the recommendation to President Alvi In a letter and was expected to release a schedule for elections shortly.
“The Election Commission has sent a letter to the president in light of the decision of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, in which the dates for holding the elections in Punjab have been suggested between April 30 and May 7, 2023,” stated a press release.
Commenting on the development, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan said that the ECP's decision to postpone elections was a blatant violation of the Constitution.
"Today, everyone must stand behind the legal community - the judiciary and lawyers - with the expectation that they will protect Constitution. If this is accepted today, then it is the end of the rule of law in Pakistan," he said in a tweet.
Earlier, the PTI chief had announced that his Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa governments would dissolve their assemblies to pave the way for fresh elections. This was eventually achieved earlier this year.
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.