Islamabad: Punjab has asked the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to hold by-elections for Punjab Assembly (PA) and National Assembly (NA) on the same day to save money and ensure foolproof security.
Briefing the ECP meeting, chaired by Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja regarding Punjab Assembly elections, Punjab chief secretary Zahid Akhtar Zaman Wednesday said that holding elections on separate days would not only increase the election expenditures two-fold but also make the task of law enforcement agencies (LEAs) to provide fool proof security difficult.
The provincial chief secretary stated that administrative officials, police officers, and teachers have to perform duties during the polls, adding that the same employees would be performing their duties in the census as well.
Similarly, Punjab Inspector General (IG) Dr Usman Anwar informed the ECP that it would be a “difficult task” to hold elections in the province until a police operation against militants, expected to be completed in four to five months, was over.
Last week, the Punjab police had launched a grand counterterrorism operation in the highly complex and inaccessible hilly areas of Mianwali district, hours after some heavily equipped militants of the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) attacked a police station in the area in the dead of the night.
President Alvi directs ECP to ‘immediately announce’ election date for KP, Punjab assemblies
However, the President of Pakistan, Dr. Arif Alvi, has directed the ECP to announce the election date for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Punjab assemblies “immediately” to put an end to “dangerous speculative propaganda” against the upcoming provincial elections as well as the future general elections.
In his letter to the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC), President Alvi referred to the dissolution of the provincial assemblies of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and said that the election of an Assembly is to be held within 90 days of the dissolution as provided by the Article 224(2) of the Constitution which emphasized the holding of election in 90 days.
He added that the conduct and holding of elections was the primary and essential duty of the ECP as per PART VIII of the Constitution, particularly Article 218 (3) which assigned the duty to the ECP to ensure the holding of fair and free elections.
He conveyed that it was ultimately the Commission, which, if it failed to discharge its functions and duties, was to be held responsible and answerable for the violation of the Constitution of the country.
Referring to Article 42 and Third Schedule, the President stressed that he was under oath “to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution” being the Head of State.