LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) has ordered the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to announce the date for elections in Punjab without delay.
In a landmark ruling on Friday, LHC Justice Jawad Hassan pronounced the verdict, which had been eagerly awaited by the public. Justice Hassan stated that the ECP is obligated to conduct elections within 90 days of the dissolution of the assembly and must issue the election schedule promptly.
This ruling is expected to have significant implications for the political landscape in Punjab, one of Pakistan’s largest and most populous provinces. The decision is also likely to have an impact on the upcoming national elections, which are widely expected to be held later this year.
The ECP, which is responsible for overseeing elections in the country, has not yet commented on the LHC’s ruling. However, it is expected to comply with the court’s order and announce the election date in the coming days.
This ruling comes amid growing concern among the public about the fairness and transparency of the electoral process in the country. The LHC’s decision is being seen as a positive step towards ensuring free and fair elections in the country.
Earlier in the day, the LHC reserved its decision on a plea filed by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) seeking direction to the Punjab governor for immediately announcing the date of elections in the province.
Justice Jawad Hassan reserved the decision after hearing detailed arguments from each side.
As the proceedings commenced, the chief secretary and Inspector General of Police (IGP) Punjab Usman Anwar appeared before the court.
Justice Jawad asked the IGP about his take regarding the elections, to which he replied that he was unaware of the case, and added that the police department had sent its proposals to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).
“We will comply with the ECP’s directions and decisions regarding the elections,” the IGP ensured the court.
The electoral watchdog’s counsel raised objections over the maintainability of the petition and argued that neither the federal government nor the president were made respondents in the petition. He added that it was the federal government that granted funds for elections.
He contended that concerned departments including the judiciary excused to provide the staff.
He questioned how it would be possible for the ECP to hold elections in such circumstances and argued that there was no law that could establish responsibility on ECP for giving the election date.
He maintained that ECP should not be made respondent in such cases as its obligation was to hold fair and free elections rather than giving date election dates.
The lawyer further argued that the ECP did not have sufficient funds for the election.
Advocate Shehzad Shaukat representing the Punjab governor informed the court that the federation was not made respondent in the PTI petition.