ANI Photo | Supreme Court returns Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s petition seeking polls within 90 days

Pakistan Supreme Court’s registrar on Thursday with objections returned Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) petition seeking nationwide elections in the country within 90 days, Pakistan-based Geo News reported. 
The plea was returned as the former ruling alliance did not approach the relevant forums before filing the petition in the Supreme Court. In the plea, the PTI included Pakistan President Arif Alvi as a respondent. However, the registrar said that the head of the state cannot be made part of the petition under Article 248.
The Registrar of the Supreme Court further said, “The petition did not mention which fundamental right of the petitioner was violated. The petition does not meet the requirements seeking the court’s intervention under Article 184/3,” according to Geo News report. 
In August, the PTI approached the apex court seeking its directives to hold polls in Pakistan within 90 days of the dissolution of the National Assembly. 
The petitioner, who is PTI’s Secretary General Omar Ayyub, urged the Supreme Court to direct Pakistan President Alvi to give a date for the elections and the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to issue an election schedule accordingly.
Ayyub filed the petition under Article 184(3) of the Constitution and requested the court to declare the decision of the Council of Common Interest (CCI) dated August 5, 2023, approving the census as illegal and void ab initio. It was the second petition filed in the Supreme Court, Geo News reported. 
Earlier, Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) President Abid S Zubairi had filed the same petition in the Supreme Court. Zubairi filed the petition through Barrister Ali Zafar, which also requests that the notification by the Bureau of Statistics dated August 8, 2023, be declared illegal, unlawful, and void ab initio. He also requested the court to declare the exercise proposed to be taken by the ECP, dated August 17, 2023,  illegal, unlawful, and void ab initio.
In the petition, the PTI had made the ECP, the federation, Pakistan’s Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs, the Council of Common Interest (CCI), the chief secretaries of Punjab, Khyber, Sindh, Balochistan, and other respondents.
The PTI also requested the court that the Sindh Governor may be required to announce the date of the polls within 90 days of the dissolution of the Sindh Assembly and the electoral body be asked to issue the election schedule accordingly, and the same for the Balochistan province.
Meanwhile, the ECP further said that the elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assemblies might be held as per the court’s judgements and within a time frame fixed by the court, Geo News reported.  
The PTI in the petition said that the census is being used by the ECP as an excuse to delay the polls to the National Assembly, as shown by the ECP in its response dated August 24, 2023, to the letter of the president dated August 23, 2023.
On September 13, Pakistan President Arif Alvi in a letter to a letter to Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja, proposed November 6 as the date of national elections, Pakistan-based Dawn reported.
In the letter, President Alvi said he had dissolved the National Assembly on the Prime Minister’s advice on August 9. Notably, the President’s advice to the CEC comes against the backdrop of divided opinions among stakeholders on the time frame for elections.
He also cited Article 48(5) of the Constitution, which he said “empowers and mandates” the president ‘to appoint a date not later than 90 days from the date of the dissolution, for the holding of a general election to the Assembly,’ according to Dawn report. 
The letter stated, “Hence, “in terms of Article 48(5), the general election to the National Assembly should be held by the 89th day of the date of dissolution of the National Assembly, i.e. Monday, 6th day of November 2023.” 
Alvi in the letter recalled that “in an endeavour to fulfil the constitutional obligations”, the chief election commissioner was invited for a meeting to devise the modalities of implementing the constitutional intent and mandate, Dawn reported.
He acknowledged that it was the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) responsibility to abide by all the constitutional and legal steps stipulated under ‘Articles 51, 218, 219, 220 and the Elections Act, 2017’ for organising and conducting free and fair elections.

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