PTI plea for Punjab polls: LHC gives more time to governor to submit reply
Adjourns hearing till Feb 9: Orders all parties to submit their replies before next hearing: Asks ECP to leave governor and announce election date itself
By Malik Ashraf
February 3, 2023 04:45 PM
The Lahore High Court has adjourned the hearing on a PTI petition seeking election in Punjab till February 9, while accepting Punjab governor’s counsel request for more time to submit his reply, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.
The court also directed the parties to submit their replies before the next hearing of the case.
The court remarked that it was a matter of public interest that elections should be held but nobody was taking it serious.
LHC Justice Jawad Hassan Friday heard the petition filed by PTI leader Asad Umar.
The government lawyer told the court that the Punjab governor had sent his reply to the letter of Election Commission of Pakistan, parliamentary leader and the speaker.
The PTI lawyer told the court that the Punjab governor did not give any date for holding elections in the province.
On this, the judge asked the ECP lawyer to tell the court when the commission was going to conduct polls in Punjab.
The ECP lawyer informed the court that the commission was ready to hold elections and there was some development in this regard. He said the Punjab governor wrote back to the ECP asking it to hold consultation with all the stakeholders regarding holding the elections.
The judge remarked that it’s written in the constitution that elections should be held within 90 days.
“How can you say that the economic situation has worsened? The economy was in bad shape before but still the elections were held. There are several judgements already given by the superior courts in this regard,” the judge added.
Justice Hassan asked the ECP lawyer “if the governor is reluctant in giving date, leave the governor. You should announce the election date yourself”.
However, the federal government lawyer said that they got enough time before the 90-day deadline reached.
The judge again asked the federal government lawyer to tell the court about the election date. On which, the lawyer wondered whether the court would give the election date.
Justice Hassan reminded the lawyer that it was not simply a court, rather it was a constitutional court. “We are just reminding what is written in the constitution,” the judge added.
PTI lawyer Barrister Ali Zafar argued that elections must be held within 90 days after the dissolution of the assembly. But the governor is not giving polls date, he said adding that there were several judgements of the superior judiciary in this regard.
Asad Umar took a stance that the ECP did not cite the worsening economic situation while announcing election schedule for the by-polls on the National Assembly seats.
The court asked Asad Umar whether he wished a full bench in this case.
However, the PTI requested the court not to form a full bench.
The governor’s lawyer requested the court to allow him time to submit his reply.
The court inquired how much time he needed.
The governor’s lawyer sought at least a week’s time.
After this the court adjourned the hearing till Feb 9.
Umar hopeful of Punjab elections in April
After court hearing, Asad Umar took to his Twitter handle and wrote: “It is almost clear from today's court proceedings that Punjab Assembly elections will be held in the second week of April. All Tehreek-e-Insaf candidates should get ready.”