The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Friday reserved its verdict on a plea filed by a citizen and the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) seeking a date for general elections in Punjab.
Later today, the court is expected to make its decision official.
Dr. Usman Anwar, the inspector general of the Punjab Police, and the chief secretary attended today’s hearing.
The court received assurance from Punjab’s senior police officer and bureaucrat that they would abide by whatever the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) decided. The chief secretary added that they would carry out the court’s directive.
The ECP’s lawyer arrived at the stage and announced that the only matter on the court’s agenda was who’d set the election date. The ECP and the president would be able to announce the election date under a proposed law, he continued.
The lawyer objected, saying that the president and the ECP were not parties to the case.
“The court cannot issue orders to those who are not made the party in the case,” said the lawyer.
The PTI’s lawyer, Barrister Ali Zafar, responded by claiming that by revising the petition, they have added the Election Commission as a party to the dispute. The ECP lawyer said that the president hadn’t yet been added as a party to the case after hearing this.
“Your objection is that ECP is not a party [in the case],” asked Justice Jawad Hassan.
The lawyer informed the court that the commission was not involved in determining the election date. He also asked that the LHC display the legal provision requiring the ECP to announce the date of the general election.
“The court itself said that they do not want to issue a verdict which cannot be implemented,” reminded the ECP lawyer. He added that implementing Article 220 was not the electoral body’s job.
“How my client can conduct the polls if it is not being provided with funds?” He also told the court that the ECP requires complete support from the federal government.
“I have objections to the acceptance of this plea. In the law, the election date can be delayed,” said the lawyer. He reiterated that there is no law that states that the ECP is bound to give a date for the elections.