Interim KP CM dispels impression polls could be delayed

Published February 1, 2023
<p>KP caretaker Chief Minister Moh­a­mmad Azam Khan (C) speaks to media in Peshawar on Tuesday. — Screengrab</p>

KP caretaker Chief Minister Moh­a­mmad Azam Khan (C) speaks to media in Peshawar on Tuesday. — Screengrab

• PTI moves high court for fixing of election date
• Governor claims he has already done so

PESHAWAR: While the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) on Tuesday moved the Peshawar High Court, seeking directives for the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa governor to announce date for holding provincial assembly elections, the caretaker chief minister dispelled the impression of delaying polls because of the law and order situation.

Responding to a question at the site of the blast in Police Lines, Chief Minister Moh­a­mmad Azam Khan said the recent bomb blasts in different areas of the province have no concern with holding the elections.

“Terror incidents have been occurring in southern districts, including Dera Ismail Khan, Tank and Lakki Marwat, for a long time,” he said, while dispelling the impression of a possible delay in the elections. “The law and order situation has not been good in the region for the past 40 years after [Russ­ian invasion of Afghanistan],” he said.

Election date

The PTI petition, moved by its secretary general Asad Umar, challenged the delay in announcement of date for elections to the provincial assembly, which was dissolved on Jan 18. It requested the high court to direct the governor to act in accordance with the Constitution.

It was further prayed to declare as unconstitutional and illegal the assertion of the governor, reported in the media, that the decision on holding of polls would be taken in the light of reports of intelligence and other agencies.

The petition was filed through senior lawyer Muhammad Muazzam Butt, who was also accompanied by former provincial ministers and leaders of the PTI, including Mohammad Atif Khan, Shaukat Yousafzai and Shahram Khan Tarakai.

The petition stated that then KP chief minister Mahmood Khan had on Jan 17 forwarded his advice to the governor for dissolution of the provincial assembly under Article 112(1) of the Constitution. It said the governor ordered dissolution of the KP Assembly on Jan 18 with immediate effect.

The petition stated that the Election Commission of Pakistan, through a letter on Jan 24, appraised the governor that consequent to dissolution of the provincial assembly, a general election was to be positively held within 90 days under Article 224(2) of the Constitution.

The petition added that the governor was also reminded by the ECP that under Article 105(3) of the Constitution, he was mandated to fix a date, not later than 90 days from the date the assembly was dissolved, for holding the general elections to the assembly, in consultation with the ECP in terms of Section 57 (1) of the Elections Act, 2017.

It stated that ECP was to announce the election programme within seven days of the announcement of the election date under Section 57 (2) of the Elections Act. It contended that the period of 90 days started with effect from Jan 18 and such polls’ day may not be taken beyond April 17, adding that the ECP had requested the governor to fix the date of polling between April 15 and 17.

The petition regretted that despite the passage of 12 days since the assembly was dissolved and the request made by the ECP on Jan 24, the governor was not inclined to fulfil his constitutional obligation.

Meanwhile, Governor Haji Ghulam Ali has sent a letter to the ECP, informing it about the date he agreed on holding the provincial assembly polls, according to a handout issued by the Governor’s House. However, it did not mention the date which was conveyed to commission.

The governor told some media persons that the letter to the ECP was sent by his secretary and couldn’t recall what date was mentioned in it.

Published in Dawn, February 1st, 2023



Courting controversy
Updated 01 Apr, 2023

Courting controversy

Pakistan cannot afford any of its top judges to be seen to be associated with one political narrative or the other.
No more freebies
01 Apr, 2023

No more freebies

PERHAPS amongst the major reasons Pakistan is fighting to maintain financial solvency today is that its rapacious...
Airports in private hands
01 Apr, 2023

Airports in private hands

THE government decision to ‘outsource’ the operations and land assets of the three main airports in Lahore,...
Sedition law
Updated 31 Mar, 2023

Sedition law

It is about time that our social contract is rewritten to reflect the primacy of the public’s right to democratic expression and dissent.
A step forward
31 Mar, 2023

A step forward

ALTHOUGH her post is temporary at the moment, Justice Musarrat Hilali has nevertheless made history by being...