Punjab elections on May 14 as Supreme Court sets aside ECP order to delay polls

ISLAMABAD(a1tv news) The Supreme Court on Tuesday declared the order of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) regarding delay in elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as unconstitutional.

The three-member special bench led by top court declared the Election Commission of Pakistan’s verdict unconstitutional, directing officials to conduct elections in on May 14.

The court directed the federal government to issue Rs21 billion funds to Election Commission by April 10 and asked the electoral watchdog to submit a report in court before the deadline.

In brief ruling, the country’s top judge said Constitution and Law donot allow election authority to extend the election date. The court remarked that nomination papers will be submitted from April 10, and list of candidates to be published before April 20, and electoral symbols will be issued on April 20.

The top court announced the verdict after reviewing the Ministry of Defence’s report about the availability of security personnel for election duties.

Stern security measures were made as large contingents of Islamabad police, Rangers and FC were deployed and only relevant people were allowed to enter the premises of the court after verification. 

The top court is yet to decide about the delay in elections in Khyber Pakthunkhwa.

A three-member bench of the top court spearheaded by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Justice Umar Ata Bandial on Monday reserved a verdict in the case that becomes the talk of the town.

Imran Khan-led opposition party and ruling alliance await the decision as the apex court is set to announce its verdict in the case on PTI’s plea against the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) move as the authority postponed polls to October 8, drawing a strong reaction of PTI, which moved court.

On Monday, the three-member bench heard the final arguments on PTI’s petition; Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial said during the hearing that some people wanted their favorite judges to decide this case.

Last week, two judges of the Supreme Court, Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail and Justice Amin-ud-Din Khan had recused themselves from hearing this case one after other.

Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial asked PPP counsel whether they boycotted the court proceedings, to which the latter responded negatively. Justice Akhtar remarked that a meeting of ruling alliance was held in the last 48 hours about boycott. How can you give arguments if you do not have confidence in us, he asked.

Chief Justice asked written assurances if PPP wanted to become a part of the proceedings.

During the hearing, Chief Justice asked how Elections Commission could postpone elections date, ruling that only the apex court had the authority to delay elections.

Earlier, the ruling alliance objected to a three-member bench of the Supreme Court hearing as the apex court commenced the elections delay case.

The apex court continued hearing despite the ruling alliance expressing no confidence in the bench hearing the matter and urged for the formation of a full court.

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