SCBA condemns govt decision to hold polls on new census

Says ECP bound to conduct elections within time-frame given in Constitution

ISLAMABAD  -  The Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) has strongly condemned the government’s decision to hold gen­eral elections on the basis of the 2023 census, which inevitably will cause an unconstitutional delay in the conduct of elections.

SCBA President Barrister Abid S Zuberi and Secretary Muqtedir Akhtar Shabbir in a statement, is­sued by the Association’s office, on Monday said it is incumbent upon the Election Commission of Paki­stan (ECP) to conduct general elec­tions within the time-frame given in the constitution.

They said that Article 224 (2) of the constitution makes it inexpli­cably clear that elections must be conducted within 90 days of dis­solution of the Assemblies. There­fore, the Election Commission is bound to announce a date for the general elections within 90 days and the same cannot be delayed on the basis of delimitation. The SCBA top leaders stated that the recent increase in population re­quires an increased number of seats in the Provincial and Nation­al Assemblies, the same can only be secured through a constitution­al amendment.

They added that it is also perti­nent to highlight that the provin­cial caretaker government has only one mandate under the law and the constitution and that is, ensur­ing fair and transparent elections in the Provincial Assembly with­in the time period stipulated under the constitution. Therefore, any in­volvement of the caretaker chief minister in the CCI and federal gov­ernment’s decision to conduct gen­eral elections on the basis of the 2023 census is illegal and beyond their mandate under the law.

They continued that a petition challenging the decision of CCI will be filed before the Supreme Court. The above mentioned office bear­ers of SCBA shall also call upon the legal community across the coun­try to initiate a nationwide peaceful struggle aimed at safeguarding the Constitution and the rule of law in the event that general elections are postponed beyond the constitution­ally prescribed timeframe.