ISLAMABAD, (MANEND NEWS): The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has set the election process in motion to the Punjab Assembly that was put off on March 22 after the poll supervisor postponed it on the pretext of security issues and the economic crisis.
A day earlier, the Supreme Court had not only declared as “unconstitutional” the ECP decision but also set May 14 as the new date for the poll in the province, in a blow to the government that was seen dragging it feet from the provincial election.
The verdict was announced by a three-member bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial and comprising Justice Munib Akhtar and Justice Ijazul Ahsan.
On Wednesday, the ECP notified the schedule for the election to the Punjab Assembly in line with the Supreme Court order.
The revised schedule was announced during an emergency meeting chaired by Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja to take stock of the situation following the top court order in a petition filed by the PTI against the ECP’s decision to delay the Punjab Assembly elections from the originally decided date of April 30 to October 8.
As per the notification, polling for the election in Punjab will be held on May 14. The last date for filing appeal against the decision of the returning officer regarding the nomination papers will be April 10.
“The ECP hereby recalls its notification of even number dated March 22 2023 and in partial modification to this commission’s notification of March 8 2023 hereby revises following stages of election programme for the conduct of general elections to the provincial assembly of Punjab,” stated the revised notification.
As per the revised schedule, the election tribunal will decide on the appeals by April 17, and the last date for publishing the new list of candidates will be April 18.
The last date for withdrawal of nomination papers will be April 19 and election symbols will be allotted to the candidates on April 20.
The election schedule by the ECP comes just a day after the apex court declared as “unconstitutional” the ECP’s earlier decision to postpone elections in Punjab, in a blow to the government that has been trying to delay the provincial election citing security issues and the economic crisis.
The three-member bench — headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial and comprising Justice Munib Akhtar and Justice Ijazul Ahsan — also fixed May 14 as the date for the poll in the province.
On March 22, the ECP had delayed the provincial assembly election in the politically crucial Punjab province by more than five months, citing the deteriorating security situation in the cash-starved country, a move criticised by Imran.
Following the ECP’s announcement, the PTI on March 25 approached the SC against the electoral watchdog’s decision to delay elections in Punjab.
The hearings in the case, which lasted over a week, witnessed high drama after two judges of the original five-member bench — Justices Jamal Khan Mandokhail and Aminuddin Khan — recused themselves from hearing the case. Thereafter, the chief justice constituted a bench comprising himself, Justice Ahsan and Justice Akhtar to proceed with the PTI petition.