Wednesday May 22, 2024

'Getting impossible to hold polls on May 14,' ECP tells SC

ECP says conduct of polls on May 14 getting impossible due to non-provision of funds and forces for maintaining law and order

By Abdul Qayyum Siddiqui
April 18, 2023
The facade of the Supreme Courts building. — SC website
The facade of the Supreme Court's building. — SC website

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) said Tuesday the conduct of polls on May 14 was getting impossible due to the non-provision of funds and forces for maintaining law and order.

“At least 466,000 personnel are required for security in Punjab,” the ECP said in its reply to the Supreme Court of Pakistan regarding elections in Punjab.

Last week, a three-member SC bench — headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial and comprising Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan and Justice Munib Akhtar — directed the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) to release funds for polls in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa by April 17.

The same bench had, in an earlier order, fixed May 14 as the new date for the election to the Punjab Assembly, as it quashed the ECP’s decision to extend the polls date from April 10 to Oct 8.

In the reply, the electoral authority added that it had written a letter to the federation for providing Pakistan Army, Frontier Corps, and Rangers personnel, but did not receive a reply.

The ECP said that today (April 18) was the last date to make payment for the printing of ballot papers. “Printing of electoral rolls with photographs is already delayed,” it stated.

The electoral body mentioned that it is its responsibility to conduct transparent, fair and peaceful polls.

“In view of ground facts, October 8 is the appropriate date to conduct elections,” it said and added that if there is no adherence to this date, then there is fear of anarchy in the country.

Earlier today, top officials of the intelligence agencies briefed the SC on the current security challenges being faced by the country regarding elections in the provinces, sources told Geo News.

Justice Ahsan and Justice Akhtar were briefed by the security officials, said the sources. They added that the meeting went on for more than two hours at the CJP's chamber.

The apex court, in its April 4 order, had directed the government to submit a report regarding the provision of security personnel for polls in the two provinces by April 17.