PHC orders ECP for submission of election schedule

Humayun Khan

PESHAWAR: A divisional bench of Peshawar High Court (PHC) comprising of Justice Abdul Shakoor and Justice Syed Arshad Ali ordered Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for submission of election schedule after announcement, on Tuesday.

ECP’s lawyer Mohsin Kamran advocate while Ali Azeem Advocate appeared on behalf Naeem Ahmad Khattak advocate, in writ plea seeking general election in Pakistan within 90 days. The writ pleaded that ECP had issued press release on 17th August 2023 while stating that delimitation is initiated across Pakistan and will be concluded in December.

Therefore, holding elections isn’t possible within 90 days, the writ stated. Chief Election Commissioner, ECP’s members and Secretary Supreme Judicial Council were made respondents in the petition. The polling for assemblies within 90 days after dissolution of the house is a constitutional obligation but election is delayed by playing various tactics and its sabotaging the Constitution of Pakistan, the writ pleaded.

ECP must take actions against actors involved in sabotaging elections which is constitutional obligation, the petition added. PHC was informed that ECP had announced general election on 8th February 2024 but didn’t communicated schedule in this regard.

ECP’s lawyer Mohsin Kamran Sadiq argued that schedule will be issued 45 days before commencement of polling day. He added that the writ had pleaded to stop delimitation and holding of election but both pleas aren’t maintainable at this stage as processes had been concluded. ECP’s lawyer added that the polling date is announced, and everyone would be aware about schedule on due date before 45 days from 8th February. However, the counsel for petitioner argued for provision schedule in this regard as a constitutional obligation.

In the meantime, Justice Arshad Ali remarked that everyone is hopeful except applicant’s lawyer in this regard. PHC ordered ECP for submission of election scheduled after announcement while adjourned further hearing.

PHC orders CS for submission of reply in ‘Sehat Card’: PHC’s divisional bench comprising of Justice Ijaz Anwar and Justice SM Attique Shah ordered Chief Secretary and Secretary Health Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for submission of reply regarding closure of ‘Sehat Card’ by caretake provincial government.

Former Member Provincial Assembly Fazal Elahi challenged closure of ‘Sehat Card’ by caretaker provincial government and claimed that the facility was initiated by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government for health facilitation to the residents of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had made legislation for ‘Sehat Card’ but caretaker government had closed the facility without jurisdiction, the counsel argued. He added that closure of ‘Sehat Card’ had face poor people unbearable circumstance to obtain health facility.

The caretaker government act is against Article4, 9, 24A and 25 of the Constitution of Pakistan as sacked free health facility from public, the counsel stated. He argued that health facility is fundamental right of every citizen under the constitution. The counsel argued PHC to direct caretaker for restoration of ‘Sehat Card’ facility while the court ordered Chief Secretary along with Secretary Health Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for submission of reply.