Election date: LHC seeks reply from govt, governor

LAHORE (Agencies): The Lahore High Court (LHC) has sought a response from the federal government, Punjab governor and others on a PTI petition seeking immediate announcement of the election date for the provincial assembly.
The Punjab Assembly was dissolved constitutionally after Punjab Governor Baligh ur Rehman excused himself from signing the summary, saying he could not become a part of the process. According to details, Justice Jawad Hassan heard PTI leader Asad Umar’s petition in which Governor Punjab Baligh Ur Rehman has been made respondent in the plea via his secretary.
At the outset of the hearing, the court showed resentment over the non-preparation of the government’s lawyer in the case and asked how come he was unaware of the hearing of the case. Later, the court adjourned the hearing of the case until February 3 and sought a response from the federal government, Punjab governor Balighur Rehman and others on the accouterment of the election date in Punjab.
PTI’s Secretary General Asad Umar filed the petition through barrister Ali Zafar, seeking direction for the Punjab governor to immediately announce the election date for the provincial Assembly in order to ensure that polls are held within 90 days of its dissolution. The plea contended that the governor of Punjab had been impleaded as a respondent since Article 105(3) of the Constitution requires him to appoint an election date to the provincial assembly not later than 90 days from the date of dissolution but he has failed to discharge that constitutional duty.
The petition claimed that it is mandatory for the respondent to announce the date to maintain the continuity of the system. Governor’s inaction to do the needful is “unlawful and unconstitutional”. Further, it said the failure of the respondent to appoint the election is creating hurdles for the ECP in discharging its duties, under Article 218(3) and the Elections Act, and in organising the election within the stated period of 90 days. The ECP in its letter highlighted these concerns but the respondent remained unmoved.