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Monday May 20, 2024

SC takes up ECP review plea on Punjab polls today

Federal, Punjab govts file replies, adopting the stance taken by ECP

By Our Correspondent
May 23, 2023
A woman casts her vote in Pakistans general election at a polling station during the general election in Lahore, Pakistan, on July 25, 2018. — AFP
A woman casts her vote in Pakistan's general election at a polling station during the general election in Lahore, Pakistan, on July 25, 2018. — AFP

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court will take up today's (Tuesday) hearing in the review petition of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) challenging its order of April 4, setting date May 14 for holding the election in the province of Punjab.

A three-member bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice Umer Ata Bandail and comprising Justice Ijazul Ahsen and Justice Munib Akhtar will hear the review petition of the Election Commission of Pakistan at 12: 15 pm. The ECP had contended in its review petition that the appointing of the date for the election is not the mandate of superior courts under the Constitution”, adding that such power exists elsewhere under the Constitution but certainly does not lie in a court of law and there is inherent wisdom in that.

The electoral watchdog had further submitted that under the Constitution, the announcement of the date for the general elections vests in the bodies other than any judicial institution, and therefore the impugned order under review, has breached the salient principle of the trichotomy of powers and thus is not sustainable. Elections — principally a domain of the Election Commission under Article 218(3) of the Constitution read with other provisions of the Constitution, the conduct of elections is the sole responsibility of the Election Commission of Pakistan”, the ECP had contended.

The ECP had submitted that in the presence of an elected government in Punjab, the general elections to the National Assembly cannot be conducted fairly, justly and in accordance with the reasons that the elected government in Punjab, for instance, will surely be able to influence the outcome of the general elections to the National Assembly, with all the resources at its disposal. “Therefore, “fair” elections cannot take place in the presence of an elected government in Punjab”, the review petition had stated adding that the voter/electorate is likely to vote in favour of the candidates of the political party which has the elected government in Punjab. Meanwhile, the federal government and Punjab Government on Monday filed their replies, adopting the stance taken by the ECP in its review petition.