Home Latest News Senate Polls may be Postponed if KP Reserved MPAs not Administered Oath: ECP

Senate Polls may be Postponed if KP Reserved MPAs not Administered Oath: ECP

In order, electoral body says it may ‘extend time for completion of Senate election’ in KP

by Staff Report


The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Thursday indicated the ongoing delay in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Assembly speaker administering oath to lawmakers elected on reserved seats can lead to the postponement of Senate elections in the province.

In an order issued by a five-member ECP bench led by Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja on several petitions seeking directions for the KP Assembly speaker to perform the oath-taking, the electoral body said Article 17 of the Constitution grants every citizen the right to participate in the governance of the country through chosen representatives.

“The law provides the people of this country, irrespective of their social, ethnical status and religious affiliation, to choose their representative in whom they repose confidence. Hence, every eligible individual should be allowed to utilize the right to vote irrespective of his caste or creed or any other consideration,” it said, referring to various Supreme Court rulings declaring the right to vote a fundamental right.

The ECP bench said Article 218(3) of the Constitution requires the electoral body to make all such arrangements to ensure free and fair elections. “Such arrangements encompass facilitation of voters to cast their votes. The commission will be failing in its constitutional duties if a voter is not provided a level playing field to exercise his right,” it said, noting a Supreme Court ruling in the Workers Party’s case mandated the ECP to exercise its powers in anticipation of any circumstance that could make an election unfair. Similarly, it said, Section 4(1) of the Elections Act, 2017 empowers the ECP to issue orders deemed necessary for the performance of its duties, while Section 8(c) empowered it to issue orders necessary for ensuring free and fair elections.

“Therefore, in case of non-compliance with directions and orders issued under Article 218(3) read with Section 4(1) and Section 8(c) of the act, the commission, in addition to any other action, may extend the time for completion of the Senate election to the extent of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa until the administration of oath to the members of the provincial assembly against the reserved seats, including those of the applicants,” it said.

Additionally, the order said, if the KP Assembly speaker failed to comply with the directions of the Peshawar High Court, the ECP might postpone the ensuing Senate election; extend the time for completion of the Senate polls for the KP Assembly in terms of Section 128 of the act; and amend the notification issued under Section 207 of the act until the administration of the oath.

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