LAHORE: The Lahore High Court suspended the schedule for the by-polls in two constituencies of the National Assembly in Punjab, including Faisalabad and Nankana Sahib, on Wednesday and sought a reply from the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

Justice Shahid Karim issued the stay order in response to petitions filed by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) candidates Farrukh Habib and retired Brig Ijaz Shah, who challenged the by-poll for NA-108 in Faisalabad and NA-118 in Nankana Sahib. The elections were originally scheduled to be held on May 28. The petitioners, through their counsel, argued before the court that a by-poll should not be conducted in a constituency if there are less than 120 days remaining until the general election. They pointed out that the Peshawar High Court also suspended a by-election in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on the same grounds.

The petitioners stated that the caretaker government and the ECP were not prepared to hold general elections in Punjab and KP due to an alleged shortage of funds, yet they announced the schedule for the by-polls.

They requested the court to prevent the ECP from conducting the by-poll in the two constituencies, as there were fewer than 120 days left until the upcoming general election. Justice Karim suspended the election schedule and sought a reply from the ECP within a week.

Published in Dawn, May 25th, 2023

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