Home Latest News Governor, ECP to Seek ‘Clarification’ on LHC Ruling for Polls in Punjab

Governor, ECP to Seek ‘Clarification’ on LHC Ruling for Polls in Punjab

In statement, governor maintains he lacks the mandate to give election date as he did not dissolve the provincial assembly

by Staff Report

File photo of Punjab Governor Balighur Rehman

Despite a Lahore High Court (LHC) ruling calling for elections in Punjab to be conducted within 90 days of the provincial assembly’s dissolution, Governor Balighur Rehman and the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) failed to reach consensus on Tuesday, and decided to approach the court for “clarification and interpretation” of its ruling.

In its ruling, the LHC had asked the ECP to consult the governor and pick a date for elections no later than 90 days after the dissolution of the Punjab Assembly on Jan. 14. Subsequently, the ECP sent a three-member team to meet the governor for a “consultative meeting” that occurred on Tuesday. However, no consensus was reached and the government would now approach the LHC for further clarity after “consultations with legal and constitutional experts.”

According to a statement issued by the governor’s office, he concluded during the meeting with the ECP that “some aspects of the consultative role of the governor in court’s decision require clarification and interpretation, for which the court will be approached after consultation with legal and constitutional experts.” Separately, a statement issued by the ECP reiterated the governor’s response to the LHC, in which he had said that as he did not dissolve the provincial assembly, he was not authorized to give an election date under the Constitution. “Under this situation, the governor’s suggestion will not be binding on the ECP,” it declared, adding the governor did not want to take “any extra-constitutional step.”

In its statement, the ECP said it would seek legal clarification of the LHC’s ruling to ensure an accurate interpretation of the Constitution and law before issuing any date for conducting polls in the Punjab Assembly.

The electoral body has also announced that it would convene a consultative meeting on Wednesday (today) to deliberate on the persisting deadlock in issuing a date for elections in Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

Condemning the ECP and the governor’s decision, PTI Senior Vice President Chaudhry Fawad Hussain said they had merely “wasted time” during their meeting. “They made mockery of the LHC’s order and the Constitution. They are taking the Constitution as a scrapbook as public opinion seems to hold no value in their eyes. If the people do not throng to the streets to lodge their protest over this Pakistan will become a colony,” he wrote in a posting on Twitter.

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