The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) submitted on Tuesday a report to the Supreme Court as the federal government failed to release the finances to hold polls in Punjab.
The report was submitted to the SC’s Registrar’s Office in a sealed envelope by ECP, which will be sent to the chambers of CJP Bandial, Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan and Justice Munib Akhtar.
The Supreme Court (SC) in its verdict declares the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) 22nd March order to postpone Elections in Punjab null and void ordering to hold poll by 14th of May.
A three-member bench, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial directed the electoral body to hold elections in Punjab on 14th May and the federal government to provide funds worth Rs21 billion to ECP by 10th April.
The Supreme Court declared the ECP’s order postponing the provincial assembly elections until October 8 as “unconstitutional” and ordered the government to release Rs21 billion funds for elections in Punjab by April 10.
The top court also directed to conduct Punjab polls on May 14. The SC further directed the caretaker government in Punjab to assist the commission.
Supreme Court also directed Pak Army to provide security for the upcoming elections and also orders to ECP to hold elections by 14th March.
ECP announces Election Schedule
Earlier Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) issues the schedule for elections in Punjab that are to be held by 14th as per direction by the Supreme Court verdict.
According to the ECP notification, the Polling for the Punjab Assembly elections will be held on 14th May 2023. The Election Commission also cancels its earlier schedule regarding the holding of general elections in Punjab by 8th October.
As per the schedule, appeals can be filed against the decisions of Returning Officers regarding rejection or accepting nomination papers on April 10.
The ECP schedule comes hours after the consultative meeting of the Election Commission, under the chair of CEC Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja that was held in Islamabad today (Wednesday) to deliberate on the Supreme Court’s (SC)’s verdict regarding Punjab Assembly elections.
During the meeting, the ECP lawyers briefed the commission about the legal aspects and prospects of the implementation on the apex court’s order.
Sources said the participants in the meeting also decided to consult the caretaker Punjab government for administrative and security matters.
The ECP has also decided to consult with the finance ministry and federal Government for the release of funds required for Punjab polls.
Finance Ministry Report
Finance Minister Ishaq Dar introduced the money bill, saying that the government was laying the bill before the house in the light of the Supreme Court orders to release Rs21 billion to the ECP to hold a general election in the two provinces.
The finance minister said the federal cabinet, in its recent meeting, pondered over the SC orders and, in view of the house’s resolution, sought the will of Parliament to take a final decision regarding the allocation of funds for the Punjab and KP general election.
But The sources said the summary finalisaed by the finance ministry mentioned difficulties in the availability of large sums of money for elections separately۔
Sources having knowledge of the matter said that no money was kept in the budget for the elections and now it is difficult to take out Rs21 billion for the Punjab elections.