The ‘urgent petition’ filed by PTI reiterates that it is important to hold elections within 90 days once assembly is dissolved. April 06, 2023
After securing a favourable Supreme Court verdict on the issue regarding a delay in Punjab Assembly elections, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Thursday moved the apex court for directing Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Haji Ghulam Ali to announce polls for the province.
The petition, moved by Barrister Gohar Khan on behalf of former Khyber Pakhtunkhwa speaker Mushtaq Ghani, pleaded that the governor was following the directions of the Supreme Court’s March 1 verdict — directing President Arif Alvi to announce a date for Punjab polls and Ali for KP.
On March 24, Governor Ali urged the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to hold the general elections in the province on October 8, the same date the electoral watchdog had announced for Punjab, keeping in mind a rise in terror activities.
The PTI had already opposed the delay of Punjab polls and after several hearing the country’s top court, on Tuesday, in its unanimous verdict declared the ECP’s decision on the Punjab and KP election null and void, ordering the electoral authority to hold snap polls issuing May 14 as the date for Punjab.
Two days after, PTI has now moved the apex court seeking the interference of SC in holding elections in KP.
The petition, filed today, reiterated that it is important to hold elections within 90 days once the assembly is dissolved and the governor was stepping back from his decision as he had already announced to hold election on May 28.
“Under the Constitution, there is no provision in which an unelected and selected caretaker government can continue to operate for more than a period of 90 days,” the petition read, adding that it was beyond the “scope and ambit of the Constitution to allow an unrepresented government to continue to govern the population of Pakistan, including that of a province.”
The petitioner mentioned that the plea has been filed in “urgency”, requesting the court to:
- “Set aside the Impugned Letter dt.24-03-2023 of Governor KP as unlawful, inter alia, on the grounds urged hereinabove;
- “Set aside the Impugned Letter dt.24-03-2023 as contrary to the directions issued by this Hon’ble Court on 01-03-2023 in Const.P.02/2023 and is non-est in view of Order dt.04-04-2023 passed in Const.P.05/2023;
- “Set aside the Impugned Notification dt.27-03-2023 as unlawful, illegal and without lawful authority as well as contrary to the Order dt.01-03-2023 and is non-est in view of Order dt.04-04-2023 passed in Const.P.05/2023;
- “Direct ECP in circumstances of this case to hold General Election to KP Assembly not later than 90 days’ subject to the barest minimum to that timeframe;
- “Any grant any other relief as deemed appropriate and just in the circumstances.”
Chronology of the issue
In November last year, the PTI chairman announced the dissolution of KP and Punjab assemblies, and after much back-and-forth, the legislatures were dissolved in January — Punjab on January 14 and KP on January 18.
Then came the step of announcing election dates and governors from both provinces were reluctant to issue dates until the Supreme Court’s order on March 1.
Following the announcements of dates, the ECP held consultations with provincial and federal authorities, and it did not receive a welcoming response, as the authorities declined to back the electoral watchdog.
Citing its responsibility towards ensuring fair elections in the country, the election organising authority, in a notification, recounted its various endeavours in trying to ensure that the commission carried out its responsibilities diligently.