Islamabad, The Supreme Court ruled that the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) decision to postpone polls to the Punjab Assembly till Oct 8 was unconstitutional and fixed May 14 as the date for polls in the province.
The ECP on March 22 announced that the elections in Punjab would be held on October 8. The date was earlier set on April 30, in consultation with the president. SC annuls ECP’s postponement of Punjab elections. Court says Constitution and law don’t allow ECP to extend election date.Federal govt told to give Rs: 21 bn in funds to ECP by April 10. Nomination papers to be submitted from April 10, list of candidates to be published on April 19, electoral symbols to be issued on April 20. The reserved verdict was given by a three-member bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial and comprising Justice Munib Akhtar and Justice Ijazul Ahsan. In its order today, the apex court instructed the electoral body to reinstate its previous election schedule under which polls were to be held and extended it by 13 days, saying that the ECP could not go beyond the 90-day stipulated time. “The law and Constitution do not give ECP the authority to delay the elections,” the top court observed.The SC further directed the Punjab caretaker government, inspector general and chief secretary to assist the commission and instructed the ECP to inform the court if the government refused to do so. Court also ordered the federal government to take measures to provide additional security in the province and ensure all other possible facilities to hold the polls.The court told the ECP to submit a report on the matter in court the same day in the case of non-provision of funds, the court will issue an appropriate order. “Elections should be conducted transparently and impartially,” the court observed.