CJP Bandial asserts ECP has no authority to extend polls date

ISLAMABAD: During the hearing of a petition filed by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) against the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) decision to postpone elections in Punjab until October 8, Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial stated that it is clear that the ECP has no authority to extend the polling date.

The hearing was presided over by a five-member larger bench, headed by CJP Bandial and comprising Justice Ijazul Ahsan, Justice Munib Akhtar, Justice Aminuddin Khan, and Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail.

The Attorney General of Pakistan (AGP) Usman Awan questioned the maintainability of the PTI’s petition, stating that matters related to elections should be referred to the Lahore High Court (LHC).

However, CJP Bandial stated that the present case was examining whether the ECP had the authority to postpone the election date, and the court is not concerned with fixing the election date.

The bench examined how the ECP was empowered to extend the election date and questioned whether the election schedule could be reduced to less than 90 days.

The CJ stressed the need for “political stability” and “maturity” to hold elections and remarked that the ECP’s decision was drafted with haste, and the commission had no authority or legal provisions available to extend the election date.

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