Polls must be held within 90 days of assembly dissolution: LHC

Punjab Assembly elections

Notices issued seeking Gov, ECP responses by Feb 3

Justice Jawad Hassan of the Lahore High Court said on Monday that elections must be held within 90 days of the dissolution of an assembly as he vowed to “struggle for democracy”.

The court was hearing a petition filed by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Secretary General Asad Umar, seeking direction from the authorities concerned regarding the announcement of the election date for the Punjab Assembly.

During the proceedings, PTI’s counsel Barrister Ali Zafar requested the court to direct Punjab Governor Balighur Rehman to announce the election date. Justice Jawad Hassan agreed on the time frame prescribed for holding the election but said that “the question is who is announcing them” and told the PTI to include the Election Commission of Pakistan as a party to the case.

The PTI lawyer complied while arguing that the ECP had written to the governor, however, he was yet to respond to the electoral watchdog. “On this issue, the ECP also stands with us,” he said.

Calling the governor’s lawyer to the rostrum, the court inquired what his stance was over the delay; however, the lawyer requested the court time to prepare his case.

Irked by the counsel’s response, the judge remarked that the respondent did not appear to be taking the matter seriously. Justice Jawad then went on to observe that “an important legal issue has been raised in the PTI’s application” and issued notices to Governor Punjab and the ECP seeking their responses by February 3.