PHC seeks written replies from Gov, ECP on election date

Tariq Saeed

Asking as to why the date for the general elections in the province could not be announced as yet, the Peshawar High Court Tuesday sought written responses from the Election Commission of Pakistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Haji Ghulam Ali till Thursday.

A two-member bench comprising Justice Ishtiaq Ibrahim and Justice Syed Muhammad Attique Shah was hearing the petition filed by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf seeking a date for the polls in the KP Assembly.

PTI leaders Azam Swati, Asad Qaiser, Shibli Faraz and Shah Farman also appeared in the court. The PTI had submitted a petition to the court stating that the elections must be held within 90 days after the dissolution of the assembly.

During the hearing, the court asked why the governor has not yet given a date for the elections. The KP advocate general said that the governor still has time to give a date for elections as per the Constitution, adding that the chief secretary has submitted a reply today.

To this, Justice Ali ordered Governor Ali to submit a written reply by Thursday in response to the letter sent to him by the electoral body seeking a date for the polls.

The high court also asked as to what will be the future course of action if the ECP does not get the date today.

PTI’s lawyer said that the governor is not giving the date and is only making excuses. The court after issuing the notices adjourned the hearing till Thursday.

The ECP, it may be recalled, had sent a letter to the provincial governor, proposing dates for the assembly elections between April 14 to 17. However, Governor Ali informed the electoral body that it should give the dates for the elections itself in consultation with all stakeholders while keeping in view the prevailing security and economic conditions of the country.

The KP governor advised the ECP to “consult and take into confidence” political parties as well as the law-enforcement agencies before fixing a date for the polls keeping in view the alarming law and order situation in the province.