ECP ‘likely’ to finalize general election schedule on January 28

Men standing in line to cast their vote at a polling station in Pakistan.  -AFP/File
Men standing in line to cast their vote at a polling station in Pakistan. -AFP/File
  • The ECP is expected to write to the apex court on the voting date within two days.
  • A three-member bench of the SC is hearing petitions demanding timely elections.
  • “It is not possible to meet the 90-day deadline,” says CJP Qazi Faiz Isa.

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) is considering fixing January 28 as the date for the general elections 2024, sources said on Friday.

Sources said the apex electoral body will inform the Supreme Court of Pakistan (SC) in writing within the next two days as it begins its preparations for the upcoming elections.

The ECP is ready to brief the Supreme Court after the apex court sought the Commission’s response on the issue of timely elections.

Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faiz Isa, earlier this week, during a top court hearing on the issue of timely elections, said it was “not possible” to meet the 90-day deadline for holding elections and he Expressed regret over the lack of preparations. of the petitioners.

CJP’s comments come as he heads a three-member bench comprising himself, Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Amin-ud-din Khan to hear petitions filed by Supreme Court Bar Association, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) . And others are demanding elections be held within the constitutional limit of 90 days.

During the hearing, SCBA’s counsel told the court that “the 90-day period will be completed on November 3”.

On this, CJP Isa asked whether it would be possible to hold elections within 90 days, to which the lawyer admitted that even if the apex court gives the order, it would not be possible to hold elections within 90 days.

ambiguity on voting

The Shehbaz Sharif-led government dissolved the National Assembly on August 9, while the Sindh and Balochistan assemblies were also dissolved prematurely to allow electoral authorities to hold elections in the country within 90 days.

If the assemblies were dissolved on time, the electoral body would have been constitutionally bound to hold elections within 60 days.

However, the ECP decided not to hold the elections within the stipulated time as the Council of Common Interest (CCI) had approved the 7th Population and Housing Census 2023 a few days before the dissolution of the assemblies.

The CCI approval made it mandatory for the Commission to hold elections after fresh delimitations in the light of the census results.

Subsequently, on 17 August, the ECP announced the schedule of fresh delimitation to be done as per the new census approved by the CCI.

But in September, the Commission announced that general elections in the country will be held in the last week of January 2024.

However, before the announcement, several petitions were filed in the Supreme Court against delaying the elections.

All the petitioners have asked the top court to ensure that elections are held within 90 days.

These petitions were filed during the tenure of former Chief Justice Omar Ata Bandial, however, their hearing was not scheduled.

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