ECP may announce ‘postponement’ of Punjab elections next week
According to sources within the organisation, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) may announce next week that the Punjab polls, planned for May 14, would not go place.
The newspaper states that the ECP has made it very clear that the Punjab Assembly elections would not take place on May 14 due to the inability of different acts and needs to be scheduled in accordance with the deadline.
According to the sources, ECP has not yet placed an order for the printing of the ballots, a picture voter list, or other goods. The necessary workforce still has to be retained and trained.
“The whole exercise involves a huge amount of money that isn’t available to the Election Commission,” the sources said.
On April 4, a three-member bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial ordered elections in Punjab on May 14 as it quashed the ECP’s decision to extend the polls date from April 30 to Oct 8.
In the order, the government was directed to provide Rs21bn in funds to ECP by April 10 and directed ECP to submit a report by April 11 on the issue.
The government refused to issue funds as the parliament did not approve the release of funds.
On April 14, the CJP-led bench ordered the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) to release the funds directly to the Election Commission but it informed the court that it had allocated the funds but did not have the power to release them.
The government was also required by the April 4 order to share an election security plan by April 17. Additionally, the government did not fulfil this.
The Supreme Court was notified by ECP on April 18 that polling on May 14 was becoming impossible due to a lack of resources and security personnel to maintain law and order.
“At least 466,000 personnel are required for security in Punjab,” the ECP said in its reply.