ECP issues schedule for Punjab polls following decision of Supreme Court

ISLAMABAD: As the Supreme Court of Pakistan turned down the verdict of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and directed it to hold the Punjab Assembly elections on May 14, the elections watchdog has issued the schedule for polls in the province. However, ECP showed reservations on the developments and said that the state institutions have made them a ‘punching bag’.

ECP, in their statement, said that before the delay of the Punjab elections they had completed the nomination of candidates and scrutiny process. The commission had delayed the polls till October 8.

According to the schedule, the first step would be appealing against the rejection or acceptance of nomination papers. The appeals could be submitted by April 10, and decision would be made within seven days (April 17). Following the verdict on appeals, the revised list of candidates will be published on April 18 for each constituency. By April 19, any candidate could withdraw the nominations.

The allotment of symbols will be completed by April 20, and polling for 297 seats will begin on May 14.

ECP issued the schedule after a meeting under the chairmanship of Chief Elections Commissioner Sikander Sultan Raja. Supreme Court has also asked for a compliance report by April 11 from the ECP.

Under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, the coalition parties held an important meeting in which the allies took their stand that justice was killed by not forming a full court. The members added that they would not tolerate the disrespect of parliament under any circumstances.

Media reports claimed that, during the meeting, a detailed consultation was held on the political situation and constitutional crisis. The legal team briefed on the decision of the 3-member bench of the Supreme Court. The ruling coalition expressed concern over an incomplete decision regarding the national issue.

The participants said they were determined to fight for civil supremacy and the stability of the parliament and would not tolerate disrespect of the parliament under any circumstances.

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