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ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court of Pakistan has been requested to set aside the Election Commission of Pakistan’s notification dated 27-03-23 for holding elections in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on October 8, 2023.

A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court on 04-04-23 set aside the date for election in Punjab on 08-10-23 and fixed 14th May as the polling date instead. It, however, left the matter to appoint date for general election to KP Assembly open to be adjudicated upon before such forum as is deemed appropriate.

Speaker KP Assembly Mushtaq Ahmad Ghani and the former minister of the KP on Thursday filed a petition and cited ECP, KP governor, and KP chief secretary as respondents.

There can be no denial that the right to democratic, constitutional governance and to have a representative, duly elected legislature and government is an integral part of the right to life and dignity. Moreover, the right to participate in elections is one aspect of the concept of political justice which is set out in the preamble of the Constitution and included in Article 17.

The petitioner submitted that the matter is one of great public importance which goes to the very route of Parliamentary Democracy and Provincial Autonomy, hence, the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, being a final court, to do complete justice is invoked. The exercise of this jurisdiction is also essential to avoid unnecessary litigation, especially keeping in view the time constraint where the elections are being delayed and the constitutional machinery is at a stand-still.

They stated that on 24-03-23 the KP governor sent a letter to the ECP which stated; “Since the ECP has postponed the election date for the general elections of Punjab province to 08-10-23, therefore it is also suggested that same 08-10-23 be proposed/appointed as election date for the general elections of KP in the best public interest as well as in the interest of the State.”

They contended that the governor KP letter is violative of the Supreme Court order 01-03-23. The ECP without application of independent mind accepted the letter without reservation and notified the date for elections in KP as 08-10-23.

The ECP has no jurisdiction or power to amend the constitution and decide to hold the elections of the KP Assembly or to any other assembly beyond the period of 90 days as mandated by the Constitution.

The ECP impugned order date 27-03-23 notifying the election date for KP Assembly on 08-10-23 is unlawful, illegal and without lawful authority.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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