SC directs implementation of LHC orders on Punjab polls date

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court directed on Wednesday the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to implement the Lahore High Court’s (LHC) orders regarding the date of general elections in Punjab.

The directive was issued during the hearing of a petition filed by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf's (PTI) dissident lawmakers in the Punjab Assembly.

However, the court dismissed the plea after the petitioners' lawyer informed the court that it was no longer effective after the dissolution of the assembly.

At the outset of the hearing, Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial remarked that the matter of dissident lawmakers' restoration was over as the assembly had been dissolved.

He inquired from the ECP officials present in the court about the progress the electoral body had made in the light of LHC's order to fix a date for the provincial elections.

At this, ECP’s director-general of law told the bench that a delegation of the commission had held a meeting with Punjab Governor Baligh Ur Rehman on the matter a day earlier, and the governor had directed the Commission to follow the law.

“The legal option has to be taken by the governor or the Election Commission?” asked CJP.

The ECP official said that it was the governor’s domain.

However, Justice Ayesha Malik interjected and asked why the ECP was consulting with the governor.

“Does the Constitution make it liable for the ECP to consult the governor before the polls?” she asked.

Meanwhile, CJP Bandial told the ECP that the LHC had asked them to hold elections and they should implement it.

However, the ECP’s DG law informed the bench that LHC had also directed them to consult with the governor.

“If the high court has given this order then follow it,” remarked CJP Bandial.

After issuing the remarks the bench then disposed off the plea.

LHC directs ECP to hold Punjab elections within 90 days

Last week, LHC had directed the ECP to ensure that polls in Punjab are held within 90 days.

Announcing the reserved verdict, Justice Jawad Hassan accepted the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf's (PTI) plea and asked the electoral body to stage the polls within the constitutional limit.

The PTI moved the high court after repeatedly demanding that the election commission issue the dates for the elections in Punjab. The party dissolved the provincial assembly on January 14.

"...the ECP is directed to immediately announce the date of election of the Provincial Assembly of Punjab with the notification specifying reasons, after consultation with the Governor of Punjab, being the constitutional Head of the Province, to ensure that the elections are held not later than ninety days as per the mandate of the Constitution," the judgment read.

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Decision came after Lahore High Court directed ECP to "immediately" announce election date in province

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