ECP order

The Lahore High Court has upheld the Constitution

Justice Jawad Hassan has done a great service to the nation and the rule of law by keeping his head high and pronouncing what was objectively expected of the Constitution, as far as holding of elections is concerned

The fact that the court did not exercise its discretion of opting for a review under exigency has buoyed democratic norms

In its judgment, the court ordered the Election Commission of Pakistan to immediately announce the date for elections in Punjab

This has literally ended a drama of expediency that was being enacted between the electoral watchdog, the interim provincial government and the administration to delay the polls on pretexts of security and other political considerations

The LHC’s verdict has simply pushed the envelope for a formal representative rule in provinces where the legislatures have been dissolved, and are awaiting the date for ballot

As ruled by Justice Hassan, ECP is bound to carry out elections within 90 days of the assembly’s dissolution and that it should issue the election schedule

By directing the provincial governor to ensure that elections are held not later than 90 days as per the mandate of the Constitution, the dye has been cast for scaling down political tensions that were brewing between PTI and the coalition government

This outcome is as per law and Constitution, and should be seen and implemented in toto, rather than interpreting it as a moment of political point-scoring or initiating a smear campaign, as is our fallible convention

The interim governments of Punjab and K-P are mandated under the constitution to hold elections within 90 days

The LHC verdict should not only serve as a shot in the arm for the custodians of the Constitution, but also as a warning that there is no room for defiance

British Prime Minister Winston Churchill went ahead with polls in a state of war, as it was sine qua non for rule of law

What ails us, as we keep on harping over the indispensability of public representation? Political forces and state institutions must follow suit and abide by the law

Published in The Express Tribune, February 12th, 2023

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Date:13-Feb-2023 Reference:View Original Link