ECP releases the election schedule in response to a SC order

 ECP releases the election schedule in response to a SC order

ECP releases the election schedule in response to a SC order

ISLAMABAD: In compliance with the Supreme Court’s ruling, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) released the eagerly awaited schedule for the general elections, which are scheduled for February 8, 2024, on Friday night.

Four days from now, on December 19. The returning officer (RO) will release a public notice to begin the voting process. The ECP has also resumed training the ROs and district returning officers (DROs).

The reserved seats for women and non-Muslims in the national assembly. And the four provincial assemblies of Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. And Balochistan are also covered by the election program.

The commission issued the election schedule late at night in line with the Supreme Court’s orders.

In a hiccup to the polling process, the Lahore High Court (LHC) had suspended the commission’s notification for the appointment of the ROs and DROs from the executive branch. In defiance of the SC’s orders.

The LHC’s verdict issued on a petition filed by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). The same party that had called for timely polls in a plea filed in the Supreme Court.

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Due to the LHC’s order, Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa and Chief Election Commissioner (CEC). Sikandar Sultan Raja met with senior officials to ensure that everything went according to plan.

Following detailed deliberations, the commission filed a petition in the top court seeking the annulment of the LHC’s order. The SC accepted the plea a few hours back, putting the process back on track.

The political parties had also voiced concerns against a possible delay in the elections. Noting that it was crucial for the democracy that polls take place on February 8.

In a statement a day earlier. The ECP had also rebuffed claims of the PTI that the upcoming general polls could be delayed, claiming that “all preparations” were completed.

Election-related dilemma
Three days before the 15th National Assembly’s five-year tenure came to an end. President Alvi dissolved it on the advice of Shehbaz Sharif, who was prime minister at the time.

In order to guarantee that the elections held 90 days later. As required by the Constitution, the previous administration prematurely dissolved the lower house.

That did not appear to occur, though, as the commission stated that it was unable to follow through on the 90-day deadline. Because it needed to work on redrawing the boundaries of the constituencies following the Council of Common Interests’ (CCI) approval of the 2023 digital census results.

The ECP did that because Section 17(2) of the Elections Act states. That “the commission shall delimit constituencies after every census is officially published” — which is in contrast with the constitutional deadline.

In October. The Raja-led ECP announced that the polls would staged in January next year, but did not announce the exact date, and in return, received flak.

In response to the ECP’s decision to hold the polls later than the constitutional deadline. The PTI and several others filed a plea in the top court seeking timely polls. On the same plea, the SC ordered the ECP and the president to consult, which resulted in a consensus date of February 8.

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But that did not seem to shut down the rumour mill and fears of the political parties. Who repeatedly voiced concerns that since the election schedule hasn’t been announced. The polls would be delayed.

PPP co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari had also said that a delay of “eight to 10 days” in the general elections would make no difference.

Web Desk

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