LAHORE: The Lahore High Court on Wednesday dismissed a petition seeking a direction to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for conducting elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) without any delay in the light of the Supreme Court’s orders.
“Presently, the averments raised in the instant constitutional petition are only based on apprehensions that free and fair elections shall not be conducted, but no cogent and substantial material is available on the record to reach such a finding in the matter,” said the verdict authored by Justice Muzamil Akhtar Shabir.
Justice Shabir was the member of a division bench headed by Justice Chaudhry Muhammad Iqbal, which heard the petition filed by Munir Ahmad, a lawyer, through Advocate Azhar Siddique.
Dismissing the petition, the bench said the petition was premature and based on apprehensions only.
The bench noted that the petitioner referred to certain instances wherein certain incidents had taken place, including the imposition of a ban under Section 144 CrPC, and also referred to news items that the inspector general of police and chief secretary of Punjab had shown their inability to facilitate the conduct of the elections.
However, the bench observed that nothing substantial was presently available on the record to establish that the ECP failed to implement articles 218 and 220 of the Constitution and was not proceeding with the matter of conduct of elections in a fair manner in letter and spirit.
It said the ECP had not raised any plea against any of the officers that he/she was not helping in conducting the election in a proper manner, or that it was not in a position to hold elections in a fair manner.
“Yet if any such matter had arisen, the Supreme Court of Pakistan had authorised the Election Commission of Pakistan to deal with the said matter in accordance with law,” the bench said in the verdict.
Published in Dawn, March 23rd, 2023
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