ISLAMABAD: A delay in general elections, scheduled to take place on 8 February 2024, is on the cards because of the Lahore High Court (LHC) order to suspend the notification of Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for the appointment of returning officers (RO) and district returning officers (DROs) from the bureaucracy.
Adviser to caretaker CM Punjab on Law, Kanwar Dilshad, told a news organisation that there could be a delay in general elections due to LHC judgment. He added that a larger bench of LHC would take up the issue regarding suspension of ECP notification for appointments of ROs and DROs. Dilshad further said that the Election Commission of Pakistan has suspended the 11th December notification for the appointment of ROs and DROs and the trainings of election officers.
Earlier, the ECP had to issue election schedule by 15th or 16th of December. The election law demands a minimum of 54 days election schedule. After LHC suspension orders, the final plan would be generated after the larger bench of LHC decides the matter. Expectedly, only a few days delay would occur.
Justice Ali Baqir Najafi announced the verdict and forwarded the case to LHC Chief Justice for a larger bench hearing.
Umair Niazi, the petitioner, requested the court to annul the ECP’s notification. He argued before the court that ECP contacted the government for ROs and there are no expectations from caretaker government to hold impartial and transparent elections.
Counsel of ECP requested the court to reject the petition as inadmissible. He contended that ECP wrote letters to the judiciary, which refused to provide judicial officers. He added the ECP has the responsibility to conduct fair and transparent elections.