LHC seeks replies from governor Punjab, ECP on contempt plea

The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Wednesday sought detailed replies from Punjab Governor Balighur Rehman, Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), and others over the current progress on a plea seeking contempt proceedings against them for not complying with the court’s order of holding elections within 90 days

The petitioner’s counsel, advocate Azhar Siddique, implored the court that governor Punjab, chief election commissioner, members ECP, secretary ECP and others have completely failed in complying with the court’s order issued on February 10, 2023

During the hearing, Justice Jawad Hassan asked whether the ECP had filed an appeal

Siddique also read out the press release of the ECP saying the governor has refused to announce the election date

To this, Justice Hassan remarked the court does not believe in press releases

Read Sheikh Rashid moves LHC against Naqvi's appointment Advocate Siddique implored the court that the provision of Article 204 of the Constitution clearly states that the high court can punish any officer if he or she abuses, interferes, obstructs or disobeys its order

To this, the additional attorney general argued that following the LHC’s judgment, the ECP is convening meetings on a day-to-day basis for consultation with the governor and in this regard, a meeting is also being held today (February 15)

Responding to the remark, Siddique stated that the law officer should obtain fresh instructions from his client to further assist the court

He argued that the CEC failed to adhere to the aforementioned judgment by not announcing the election date even after having consulting with the governor

“It is dire violation of Articles 4 and 5 of the Constitution as well as the oaths, as had been, respectively, taken by the Chief Election Commissioner of Pakistan and the Governor, Punjab as it is the constitutional mandate of their respective offices to set a date for the ‘Election’ and work alongside each other for conducting a fair and transparent election,” he added

Also Read PTI resignations: 'Imran Khan left out of caretaker setup process' Appointing the election date is required immediately so that ECP may organise and conduct the election as per Article 218(3) of the Constitution read with Section 57 of the Elections Act, 2017 (the “Act”), of course, in letter and spirit; and make such arrangements as are absolutely necessary for holding free, fair and transparent elections

ECP was further informed that in this regard, ECP would require 54 days for conducting the elections and it will take ECP seven days to announce the schedule of the elections which sums up to a total of 61 days, therefore, by Sunday (February 12, 2023), the ECP had to announce a date of the aforementioned elections or else ECP’s failure shall be deemed as contempt of the aforementioned judgment unambiguously passed by LHC, stated the notice

It is pertinent to mention that the aforementioned legal notice was also brought vide various tweets and other media resources but ECP remained adamant about not announcing a date for the elections

Respondents have openly stated that they will not comply with the orders of LHC and announce an election date

However, Justice Hassan issued notices to respondents and sought their replies by February 23 about progress made thus far in the matter on or before the next date of hearing

Date:16-Feb-2023 Reference:View Original Link