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Thursday June 13, 2024

ECP discusses Punjab, KP polls; to meet again today

By Mumtaz Alvi
March 02, 2023
In this file photo taken on August 2, 2022, paramilitary soldiers stand guard outside Pakistan’s election commission building in Islamabad. — AFP
In this file photo taken on August 2, 2022, paramilitary soldiers stand guard outside Pakistan’s election commission building in Islamabad. — AFP

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) Wednesday swung into action after the Supreme Court of Pakistan verdict, directing it to hold polls to the Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa legislatures in remaining days, as 54-day requirement could not be met now. Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja informally presided over a meeting here and reviewed preparations for the upcoming electoral process in the light of the apex court judgment.

It was learnt that a letter could be written on Thursday (today), following another meeting of the commission on the same day at 11am, to the President and KP governor on the proposed polls date for the Punjab and KP assemblies.

The Punjab and KP provincial assemblies were dissolved on January 14 and Jan 18, respectively, in an attempt by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf to pave the way for fresh elections. The Article 224 of the Constitution requires holding of elections to an assembly within 90 days of its dissolution.

As for the issue of conduct of elections is concerned, the election programme requires a minimum of 54 days process. Almost half of the time has already passed since the dissolution of the two legislatures, whereas the Elections Act, 2017 mandates the commission to announce polls schedule after the announcement of the election date. For completion of all activities, mentioned in the election programme as per Section 57 (2) of the Elections Act 2017, a minimum of 54 days are required. How will the Election Commission proceed is to be deliberated upon during its meeting on Thursday (today).

Earlier, as part of its preparations for the two provincial assemblies elections, the ECP drew the attention of all the political parties, in compliance of Section-216 of the Elections Act, 2017 to submit, in person or through authorised representative, applications for allotment of election symbol for forthcoming general elections of provincial assemblies of Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, latest by March 8, 2023.

Meanwhile, the ECP will hear three cases on March 7 in relation to PTI chairman and ex-premier Imran Ahmad Khan Niazi. Notices were issued to PTI chief election commissioner Jamal Akbar Ansari with reference to ‘removal from chairmanship of PTI’, an ‘application for removal of Imran Ahmad Khan Niazi from chairmanship of PTI’ to M Afaq, and ‘application against issuance of notification in favour of Imran Khan as returned candidate in by-election 2022 and removing his name from chairmanship of political party (PTI)’.

Likewise, the Election Commission will also hear a case on March 14 on the conduct of intra-party election of Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PMLN) for which notices have been issued to the party president Mian Shehbaz Sharif and Secretary General Ahsan Iqbal.