Center, Punjab ask Supreme Court to review election date verdict

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: In their written replies submitted to the Supreme Court (SC) in the Punjab elections case on Monday, both federal and Punjab governments seconded the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) request to the apex court to review its decision in the case.

In its reply, the federal government contested that the Supreme Court’s April 4 decision of giving election date in Punjab was against the Constitution as the apex court used Election Commission of Pakistan’s powers off announcing poll date.

The federal government argued it was the duty of the ECP to hold free, fair and transparent elections; however the Supreme Court by announcing the poll date itself had made the ECP’s authority ineffective.

The government further said the province of Punjab has most number of seats and if elections are held first then it is feared that the result will undermine the elections for the National Assembly.

A victory in Punjab determined who will form the government at the Centre; therefore elections in Punjab should be held simultaneously with the National Assembly polls, the federal government said, praying the apex court to revisit its April 4 judgement.

Opposing the idea of holding elections in Punjab immediately, the provincial government argued that the SC did not have the power to announce elections date. “In fact, other institutions have the authority to announce date for the purpose,” it said in its reply.

The Punjab government further said that the Supreme Court by announcing elections in the province on May 14 had violated the distribution of powers as laid down in the constitution. “Under article 218, holding free and fair elections is the responsibility of the ECP,” read the reply.

The Punjab government further said it was because of the distribution of powers that the apex court had refrained from giving date for elections in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).

Apart from that, the provincial government said, the law and order situation had changed after incidents of violence on May 9. “Military and government buildings were damaged and burnt following the arrest of PTI Chief Imran Khan on that day. Besides that 162 policemen were injured, 97 police vans were set on fire,” read the reply.

It was further stated in the reply that contrary to 554, 000 police personnel required to provide security if elections were held in Punjab now, there were only 77, 000 personnel available. 

The ECP had filed a petition in the SC, urging the court to revisit its decision, dated April 4, 2023, in which it had ordered holding of elections in Punjab on May 14. 

Courtesy: (24news)