ISLAMABAD – Supreme Court of Pakistan on Wednesday remarked that elections for the provincial assemblies in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa must be held within 90 days.
The five-member bench announced a split 3-2 ruling, with Justice Mansoor Ali Shah and Justice Jamal Mandokhail giving dissenting notes.
The bench, spearheaded by Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial, gave a decision. In its verdict, the apex court maintained that there will be no parliamentary democracy without parliament or the provincial assemblies and added that elections must be held under the constitution within due time.
The development comes as two legislatures in Punjab and KP were dissolved by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party to force early polls.
Last month, President Dr. Arif Alvi announced April 9 as the election date in the two provinces, sparking new controversy as many raised questions over his appointment. The top court later took a suo moto notice of the president’s announcement to decide on the constitutional responsibility of deciding the election dates.
It maintained that the Punjab governor had not signed the order for the dissolution of the assembly, so President Alvi holds constitutional responsibility to announce the polls. The five-member bench annulled President’s order on the KP election date which he wanted to be held in April.
Meanwhile, President’s counsel maintained that Mr. Alvi was ready to take away his order for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
In its order, the court has instructed the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to recommend an election date to the president, who will announce the date in consultation with the ECP.
The verdict called on the electoral watchdog, President, and Governor to play their constitutional role to conduct elections on time.