LHC seeks replies from Punjab governor, ECP on election date plea

Lahore: The Lahore High Court (LHC) Thursday ordered the Punjab governor and the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to submit a detailed response to the petition against the non-announcement of the election date in Punjab. The court said, “The judgments of the case will be announced by late night on February 13.” In the LHC, a hearing was held on the petition of Citizen Muneer Ahmed against the non-announcement of the election date in Punjab.

In the reply submitted by Punjab Governor Balighur Rehman, it has been said that when the governor dissolves the assembly, it is his constitutional responsibility to give the date of the election, and the governor has not obstructed the authority of the ECP. While requesting to dismiss the petition with penalty, the Punjab governor has further stated in his reply that the petitioner is not the affected party, and the governor is performing his duties according to the Constitution and law.

Justice Jawad Hasan said in his remarks, “We have to follow the logic. First, we have to see whether a larger bench is needed or not.” The lawyer for the ECP sought time from the court to submit its reply. He told the court that he was appointed as a lawyer the previous day, adding that he had not even seen the orders of the court and had not prepared the answer. Justice Jawad Hassan said that there were judicial precedents related to holding the elections within 90 days.

The lawyer for the ECP said, “We have to conduct the election, but the date has to be given by the governor. The date for the by-election has to be given by the ECP, but the law is different as far as the authority to give the date of the general election is concerned.” Barrister Ali Zafar said, “If the governor and the ECP do not give the date, the president can give the date of the election.” The ECP’s lawyer said that there were obstacles in its implementation. “The ECP should tell because I cannot tell the governor,” Justice Jawad Hasan remarked.