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LHC orders ECP to hold elections within 90 days

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LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Friday asked the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to hold elections in the province within 90 days.
The court passed this order in reserved verdict on the petitions seeking an order for the Punjab governor to announce a date for elections in the province and asked the electoral body to hold the polls within the constitutional limit.
The court directed the ECP to immediately announce the date of the general elections of the Punjab Assembly after consultation with the governor, being the constitutional head of the province, to ensure that the elections were held not later than 90 days as per the mandate of the Constitution.
The court said that the governor is clearly bound under Article 105(3)(a) to appoint a date not later than 90 days from the date of the dissolution of the assembly, for the holding of the general elections.
The court observed that none of the parties took the stance against article 224(2) of the Constitution that general election is required to be held within 90 days.
The court explained that Article 218(3) of the Constitution provides, “It shall be the duty of the Election Commission to organise and conduct the election and to make such arrangements as are necessary to ensure that the election is conducted honestly, justly, fairly and in accordance with law, and that corrupt practices are guarded against.”
The court also referred to the Article 220 which says, “it shall be the duty of all executive authorities in the federation and in the provinces to assist the commissioner and the election commission in the discharge of his or their functions.”
The court observed that the superior courts have also held that the ECP is the apex, independent and neutral constitutional authority to hold, organize and conduct elections in the country.
The court ruled that the ECP was bound to carry out the elections within 90 days after the dissolution of the assembly and asked it to issue election schedule.
Earlier, Punjab Inspector-General of Police (IGP) and the Chief Secretary Punjab appeared before the court during today’s hearing.
The IGP told the court that he was not aware of the case background however we will implement whatever decision of the ECP would take in this regard. The court at this said, “It was looking forward such an assurance from the police chief”.

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