PM Shehbaz to be in jeopardy in case of election delay: Aitzaz Ahsan

F.P. Report

LAHORE: Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader Aitzaz Ahsan on Saturday said if Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif did not allow election in Punjab on May 14, he would stand disqualified.

Addressing a round table conference of lawyers and jurists, he said election in Punjab would be held on May 14 at every cost adding that anyone violating the Supreme Court of Pakistan’s order, directing the elections in Punjab on May 14, would be disqualified.

He went on to say that the country was witnessing a historic conflict between the parliament and the judiciary adding that political parties were at daggers drawn to each other right now. “We need to think whether the constitution reigns supreme or not,” he added.

“The constitution binds elections within 90 days [of the dissolution of assemblies],” he said. He added that our country was reeling under debt. Mr Ahsan said that the verdict issued by the apex court was final adding that PM Shehbaz and his brother Nawaz Sharif said they rejected the bench hearing elections’ case. “I have been saying since day one that the court’s order needs to be followed,” he added.

Ealier, after the National Assembly’s standing committee rejected the bill seeking release of Rs21 billion in funds for elections, a three-member SC bench directed the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) to immediately release Rs21 billion to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for elections in Punjab.

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar tabled the bill, seeking release of election funds, in the assembly as SC had ordered the federal government to release funds for elections until April 10 alongside ordering the ECP to hold elections in Punjab on May 14. The court subsequently ordered the electoral watchdog to present a report on the provision of funds on April 11.

The ECP, on April 11, apprised the SC in a report that the government had not provided funds to the commission for holding elections in Punjab. According to the Election Commission, the government had not yet provided Rs21 billion despite SC’s order and the Punjab caretaker government had agreed to provide only 75000 personnel for security.

“There is a shortage of three lakh security personnel for the elections in Punjab,” the ECP noted. Upon this, the court issued notices to top officials including Attorney General Manssor Awan, State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Governor Jameel Ahmad, Secretary of the Finance department, and Secretary of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) over failing to provide funds for upcoming Punjab elections. (NNI)