ECP’s security request binding: PHC – 21 Feb 2023

PTI lawmakers move SC against ‘inaction’ on provincial polls

A division bench of the Peshawar High Court (PHC) observed on Monday that providing funds, security and making other arrangements for the elections was the responsibility of the federal government.

The court remarked that providing security for the election was mandatory for the law enforcement authorities.

The bench comprising Justice Ishtiaq Ibrahim and Justice Syed Arshad Ali heard the writ petition filed by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) seeking elections within 90 days after the dissolution of the K-P Assembly.

Lawyers representing the PTI, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and the provincial advocate general appeared before the court.

At the outset of the hearing, the court asked about the provision of funds, in response to which the lawyer for the ECP, Mohsin Kamran Siddique, informed the bench that the federal government had declined to provide funds.

He said a meeting was also held with the security agencies but they also refused to provide security.

However, he added that the matter could be resolved as the K-P cabinet might make a similar request.

Justice Ali remarked that funds and security for the elections were the responsibility of the federal government, while Justice Ibrahim noted that the provision of security was mandatory at the request of the ECP.

But the federal government is a silent spectator at this time, Justice Ali said. He asked that in a situation when the governor did not fulfil his responsibility, whether the president of Pakistan had any role.

K-P Advocate General Aamir Javed informed the bench that the governor required the time to hold consultations over fixing a date for the elections. He said the government and other institutions would submit their input to the governor.

The hearing was adjourned till Wednesday (tomorrow).

PTI lawmakers move SC

Meanwhile, in a related development, lawmakers belonging to the PTI approached the Supreme Court seeking directions to governors and the ECP to announce the date of general elections for Punjab and K-P assemblies.

In a joint constitutional petition filed under Article 184(3) of the Constitution, the lawmakers as well as the speakers of the disbanded provincial assemblies expressed their grievances saying that the governors and the ECP have failed to perform their constitutional duty as required under Articles 105(3) and 224(2) of the Constitution to appoint a date for the election.

The petition, filed through lawyers Syed Ali Zafar and Uzair Karamat Bhandari, made the electoral watchdog, the federal government, governors and chief secretaries of both provinces and the president as respondents.

The petition prayed the apex court to direct the ECP, the president and the governors of Punjab and K-P to immediately announce the dates of elections for the provincial assemblies of the Punjab and K-P so as to ensure that the elections are held not later than ninety days of the dissolution of the assemblies.

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