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Tuesday, May 21, 2024  
12 Dhul-Qadah 1445  

KP governor proposes May 28 date for provincial elections

Decision comes after his meeting with ECP and president
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Haji Ghulam Ali speaks to reporters outside the ECP Office in Islamabad on March 14, 2023. Screengrab via YouTube/PTV News
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Haji Ghulam Ali speaks to reporters outside the ECP Office in Islamabad on March 14, 2023. Screengrab via YouTube/PTV News

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Haji Ghulam Ali has suggested May 28 as the date for provincial elections, ending the uncertainty over the key announcement after President Alvi gave April 30 date for Punjab elections.

“We pray that the elections are held without any inconvenience,” KP Governor Ali told reporters while expressing concerns about the law and order situation in the province. “Now it was the responsibility of the election commission whether they go for elections in these conditions or not.”

He conveyed his suggestion to the Election Commission of Pakistan during a meeting, presided over by Chief Election Commissioner Sikander Sultan Raja, on Tuesday. The commission had met to discuss the date for the KP elections.

The decision from the northwestern province’s caretaker setup was due after the Supreme Court’s March 1 decision. Elections for the dissolved KP and Punjab assemblies will be held in 90 days, the apex court said in a swift ruling earlier this month.

Assemblies in KP and Punjab were dissolved by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf in an attempt to press the government to go for elections. But the delay prompted Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial to take the suo motu notice.

Earlier, the army and the government had excused themselves from providing troops and funds for polls.

“The law and order situation is not good in KP and if it is not difficulties will arise,” the KP governor said as he mentioned the twin attacks on the census team that left two policemen dead.

Both the province and the ECP are bound to give the date for elections as per the SC decision.

“We were trying to resolve these issues before announcing the date. Still, the people of merged areas are protesting that our census is held, delimitation is completed and after that elections should be held so that we can regain our lost seats,” he said and added that reservations were shared in detail to the ECP.

In the same vein, the governor said that many questions would be raised on the security for elections in Lakki Marwat and Bannu. “These are difficult times.”

He rebuffed an impression that he was under any pressure, saying that he was under pressure from the people and merged districts. All the reservations have been shared with the commission, Ali said.

“I think it is my constitutional responsibility which I have fulfilled. But I still say that I, president, and ECP should have sat together and we had debated on all of this,” he said and shared that he had telephoned the president on March 3.

He stressed the need for dialogue among political parties, adding that elections should be held on the same day.

President Alvi advises KP governor to give date in the given time

Earlier, President Arif Alvi advised Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Haji Ghulam Ali to give the date of the elections for the province in the stipulated time after the dissolution of the provincial assembly.

“Around two weeks have passed; the date for elections should be set as per the Supreme Court decision in order to avoid complications,” he told the KP governor, who called on him in Islamabad, on Tuesday.

KP Governor Ali had earlier expressed his concerns over President Alvi’s “unilateral” decision to announce the election date for Punjab.

The announcement had come after the Election Commission of Pakistan’s letter to the president, seeking a poll date. The country’s top electoral authority had also sought a date from the KP governor.

Alvi stressed the need for organising polls upholding the Constitution and holding general elections within the stipulated period.

“Holding elections in the stipulated time is important to strengthen the parliamentary democracy,” Alvi said.

PTI lauds ECP’s role

“We, on the insistence of Imran Khan, have decided that we should show good will gesture for ECP. We have criticized the ECP which depends on the issue We have not any personal enmity with the commission,” he told reporters in Islamabad.

The PTI leader praised the commission for giving elections date and standing with the Supreme Court decision, adding that the party has lauded its role.

He said that the party has approached the ECP against the interim Punjab government while describing it as “an extension of the Pakistan Democratic Movement”.

The courts should provide video link assistance to Imran Khan, PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry said.

“We ask, are we a banned organisation? Every day a case is registered against our party. Eighty-three cases have been registered against Imran Khan. How it is possible for Imran to appear in every cases,” he said.

The party demanded that two judicial commissions should be formed for investigating the death of Ahmed Bilal aka Zil e Shah and for revealing all the facts about the Toshakhana case.

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