ECP Heads to Polls on February 8th Following SC Intervention

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) announced that the general elections in the country will be held on February, 2024. It has urged all political parties and their candidates to cooperate with the ECP and to ensure that the electoral process is conducted in a peaceful and orderly manner.

In a significant development, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and President Dr. Arif Alvi have come to a consensus: the general elections are set to take place on February 8. This decision comes following the directives of Chief Justice of Pakistan Qazi Faez Isa. However, he instructed the electoral body to coordinate with him regarding the polling date.

A delegation from the ECP, led by Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja, met with President Alvi at Aiwan-e-Sadr in Islamabad. This meeting followed a visit from Attorney General for Pakistan, Mansoor Usman Awan.

Earlier on Thursday, the commission had informed the Supreme Court that the general elections would be scheduled for February 11. However, the Chief Justice urged them to ensure that President Alvi was in agreement.

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The three-judge bench, comprising Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa, Justice Aminuddin Khan, and Justice Athar Minallah. They had been hearing petitions advocating for elections to be held within 90 days after the dissolution of the legislatures.

The Chief Justice issued a directive. Saying “Let the ECP meet with the President of Pakistan today and the date for holding general elections in Pakistan be appointed.” Moreover, he further emphasized that the Attorney-General for Pakistan should facilitate this meeting. He should also provide the President with the court’s orders from October 23 and November 2.

The court expects that a final decision regarding the election date will be reached and communicated on November 3, 2023.

The Argument

The ECP lawyer, Sajeel Swati, informed the court that the process of delimitation was underway and would conclude on November 30. However, the final delimitation results are expected to be published by December 5, 2023.

To ensure maximum public participation, Swati suggested that elections ideally be held on a Sunday. The first Sunday after the designated timeframe falls on February 4, 2024. However, to allow political parties ample time to present their programs and manifestos. It would be more suitable to hold elections on Sunday, February 11, 2024.

In his final remarks, Chief Justice Isa asserted that the chosen election date must be adhered to. He stressed that the court’s primary goal was to ensure smooth elections without unnecessary complications. He concluded that the Supreme Court would announce the final date for the polls.

Additionally, he made it clear that after this case, no further pleas concerning delays in the polls would be entertained. The hearing was adjourned until Friday.

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