The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Monday moved the Supreme Court to seek directions for the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to conduct general elections within 90 days of the dissolution of the National Assembly.
Filed by petitioner Omar Ayyub, the secretary general of the PTI, the plea urges the apex court to direct President Arif Alvi to give a date for the polls and the ECP to issue an election schedule accordingly. It has been submitted under Article 184(3) of the Constitution and seeks directions to declare the Council of Common Interests (CCI)’s approval of the digital census results “illegal” and of no effect. Following the approval of the census, the ECP has initiated fresh delimitation of constituencies, spanning Aug. 17-Dec. 14, meaning elections cannot take place within 90 days of the National Assembly’s dissolution, which occurred on Aug. 9.
This is the second petition seeking directions for timely conduct of general elections, with an earlier one having been filed by Supreme Court Bar Association President Abid S. Zubairi, who is considered close to the PTI.
“Section 57(1) of the Election Act, 2017, providing that the date of elections is to be fixed by the ECP may be declared to be ultra vires the Constitution and being contrary to Articles 48(5)(a), 58(1), 105(3)(a), 112(1), and 224,” reads the PTI petition. The amendments to the Election Act mandate the ECP to announce a date or dates for elections, nullifying the role set for the president in the Constitution.
In its petition, the former ruling party has made as respondents the ECP, the federation, the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs, the CCI, and the chief secretaries of Punjab, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh, and Balochistan. It has further argued that in addition to the president announcing a date for elections, the apex court should also direct the Sindh and Balochistan governors to announce a date of elections within 90 days of the dissolution of their assemblies. Subsequently, it has prayed, the ECP should issue an election schedule accordingly.
For Punjab and KP, it says, a date for elections should be announced in accordance to earlier rulings of the apex court.