PESHAWAR: The day the Election Commission of Pakistan invited Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Ghulam Ali to discuss a possible date for elections in the province, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) served legal notice on him to fix a date or face legal consequences.
On Thursday, the ECP invited Ghulam Ali for a final consultation when the ECP officials and the governor failed to develop a consensus during a similar meeting at Governor’s House here on Wednesday. The governor had, during the meeting, hinted at a final consultation to be held at the ECP’s headquarters in Islamabad.
“The ECP has desired to extend an invitation to you on the meeting of ECP scheduled to be held on Tuesday (March 14, at 2pm) in the ECP headquarters for a final consultation on the appointment of date for the conduct of general elections to the provincial assembly of KP,” read a letter sent to the governor by the commission on Thursday.
On the other hand, Supreme Court Bar Association’s former president Qazi Muhammad Anwar sent a notice to the governor, asking the latter to fix a date for general elections in the province “within six hours”.
PTI legal team warns of treason case against governor
The notice, a copy of which is available with Dawn, stated that the governor had dissolved the KP Assembly but did not announce the date for elections, which had to be held within 90 days from the date of dissolution of the assembly as required, and had ignored Article 105 of the Constitution.
It said that following the apex court’s orders, a date was fixed for holding general elections in Punjab, but “you [governor] passed uncalled for and unjustified and illegal and unconstitutional observations and remarks on the directions of the Supreme Court”.
“I, through this notice, require you to forthwith within six hours from receipt of this notice fix and announce the date for holding the general elections to the provincial assembly of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. So as the process is completed on or before 30th of Aril 2023,” Mr Anwar said in the notice.
The notice warned that in case the governor failed to give a date, legal and constitutional actions should be taken at his cost and risk. “At the same time petition to the Peshawar High Court for directing the federal government for filing complaint against you under Article 6 of the Constitution for deliberately and openly violating the Constitution shall be filed,” the PTI legal team warned.
On Jan 25, the ECP proposed to the KP governor to hold the provincial assembly polls between April 9 and 17. The governor, however, in a letter to the ECP hinted at the alarming law and order situation and advised the commission to consult all the relevant stakeholders, including political parties, before deciding a date for general elections in the province.
The governor in a letter also asked the caretaker provincial government to assess the security situation in the province.
A reminder to the chief minister on Feb 10 seeking his early assessment of the security situation in the province was also sought upon which a meeting was held on Feb 22 where caretaker CM Muhammad Azam Khan was informed that since the elections in merged and settled districts of KP would be held simultaneously, the available strength of the police was insufficient.
Published in Dawn, March 10th, 2023
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