LHC to hear appeals on Punjab polls orders


The Lahore High Court on Tuesday fixed February 27 for hearing two intra-court appeals against orders issued to the Election Commission of Pakistan to announce elections in Punjab after consultation with the governor.

A division bench headed by Justice Chaudhry Muhammad Iqbal was hearing petitions filed by the ECP and Governor Balighur Rehman.

Since the dissolution of the provincial assembly, doubts over the election date announcement have persisted as the governor has thus far failed to announce an election date.

After the matter was brought before the LHC through a petition by citizen Munir Ahmed, Justice Jawad Hassan ordered the electoral regulatory body to hold consultations with the governor and announce polls immediately.

Though a meeting was held between the ECP and the governor, the two had simultaneously opted to challenge the unprecedented court orders.

Meanwhile, eyebrows had also been raised over the orders at the apex court. As proceedings commenced, Justice Iqbal asked if there is any provision for the ECP to hold a consultation with the governor. Advocate General Punjab Shan Gull and ECP’s counsel advocate Shahzada Mazhar informed that there was none.

Deputy AG Asad Ali Bajwa then sought some time from the court to get further instructions from the concerned authorities. AGP Gull also followed suit and requested the court for more time.

Meanwhile, Munir Ahmed’s counsel Azhar Siddique argued that the federal government, the ECP and the governor were not serious about announcing the election date, claiming they were “trying to run away from polls” and violating the constitution.

Advocate Siddique implored the court that President Arif Alvi has already announced the date for the elections to which the AGP regretted that “it was not the president’s job to do this”.

After hearing the arguments, the judge granted the ECP and federal government’s lawyers’ requests and adjourned the hearing until February 27.