Published On: Tue, Mar 14th, 2023
Published in Category: Islamabad

KP Governor Haji Ghulam Ali announces May 28 as date for polls in the province

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ISLAMABAD: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Haji Ghulam Ali on Tuesday announced May 28 as the date for elections in the province following a meeting with the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and President Dr. Arif Alvi.

The governor held meetings with ECP officials earlier on Tuesday and was later called by President Dr. Arif Alvi to discuss matters related to the general elections for the KP Assembly.

Speaking to reporters after a meeting with Chief Election Commissioner Dr. Sikandar Sultan Raja, the KP governor said “my work is to give the date for the elections in the province but conducting the polls falls under the electoral watchdog’s domain.”

The KP governor said the meeting with the election commission officials was held in a “good atmosphere”. He cited the law and order situation as “a real problem”, and mentioned how the police came under attack in KP’s Lakki Marwat district.

“The election commission and government are bound to follow the orders of the Supreme Court,” he said, adding that “the people in KP have doubts regarding the census carried out in the province”.

However, in the same media talk, Governor Ghulam said he “does not see elections happening”.

The KP Assembly was dissolved in mid-January and a caretaker setup was put in place to hold elections. However, a date was not finalised for the elections despite the Supreme Court’s orders.

During the meeting, the president had advised announcing a date for the polls in KP Assembly after consultations with the ECP to avoid any complications as almost a period of two weeks had already passed by.

Emphasising a need for upholding the Constitution and holding general elections within the given time period, President Alvi also directed Governor Ali to implement the top court’s order in letter and spirit where it is directed.

On March 8, the meeting between the electoral body and senior officials including Governor Ali could not be fruitful as it failed to finalise a date for the polls despite the orders given by the apex court.

The Supreme Court, in a split verdict, ruled on March 1 that elections for KP and Punjab assemblies should be held within 90 days.

In the verdict, the apex court noted that there are “different aspects and requirements” for holding polls but ruled that one thing that was “absolutely crucial is the timeframe” for the polls. It added that Constitution envisages two periods for holding polls — 60 days in case the assembly is dissolved after its term is completed and 90 days in case the assembly is dissolved before the expiry of its term.

The two assemblies — KP and Punjab — where Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) was in majority were dissolved on the directives of party chief Imran Khan to force the federal government to early general elections in the country.