POLLING day is hardly a few days away but election authorities are still waiting for court decisions to candidature of contestants in eighty five constituencies before they can finish printing ballot papers. Majority of these constituencies are in Punjab and Sindh provinces and indeed the election authorities are now looking towards the courts to decide the cases at the earliest so that they could begin printing of the papers for those constituencies.
In fact a large number of cases landed in higher courts after the appellate tribunals gave their decisions on the acceptance or rejection of nomination papers. No doubt, the higher courts have already disposed of a big chunk of election-related appeals but decisions are still pending on a good number of appeals. As just less than a week is left in the polling day, it is therefore time for the courts to take up election appeals on a priority basis and decide them at the earliest so that the ECP could complete printing of ballot papers according to its schedule by Friday. After the printing, the election-related material is also required to reach office of the returning officers by July 24.
In recent days the bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar also decided a series of election-related appeals and since the honourable CJP has expressed his commitment time and again for timely conduct of polls, we expect that he will also issue necessary directions especially to the Sindh and Lahore High Courts to decide the appeals quickly as it is interrupting ECP’s job. Up till now, the Commission has been fulfilling its constitutional responsibility in an effective manner yet it is also the responsibility of other institutions including the judiciary to lend full support to the ECP so that doubts created by certain elements are not entertained by anyone. This general election is higly important for the democratic future and stability of the country and responsibility lies with all the relevant institutions to fulfil their duties with full commitment so that nobody could raise fingers on the credibility, transparency and fairness of the polls in the post-election scenario.