The Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) decision to postpone polls to the Punjab Assembly till Oct 8 was unconstitutional and fixed May 14 as the date for polls in the province. The ECP had on March 22 announced that the elections in Punjab would be held on October 8. The date was earlier set on April 30, in consultation with the president.
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The reserved verdict was given by a three-member bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial and comprising Justice Munib Akhtar and Justice Ijazul Ahsan.
In its order today, the apex court instructed the electoral body to reinstate its previous election schedule under which polls were to be held and extended it by 13 days, saying that the ECP could not go beyond the 90-day stipulated time.
“The law and Constitution do not give ECP the authority to delay the elections,” the top court observed.
It maintained that 13 days were wasted because of the ECP’s unlawful decision. According to the court, candidates will be able to submit nomination papers from April 10, the Election Commission will publish the list of candidates on April 19, and electoral symbols will be issued by April 20.