The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has shared serious concerns over holding the Punjab Assembly elections on May 14, reported Pakistan based The Express Tribune, on Tuesday. The ECP has said that "anarchy and chaos" could break out in the country if its itinerary for polls is not followed. This comes after a three-judge bench led by the chief justice, including Justice Munib Akhtar and Justice Ijazul Ahsan, on April 4 announced as "unconstitutional" the Election Commission of Pakistan's (ECP) decision to postpone the Punjab polls to October 8. Notably, the ECP delayed the provincial assembly election in Punjab province by more than five months and announced the same on March 22.
The Election Commission of Pakistan shared the report with the Supreme Court on Tuesday where they said that they would not be able to ensure "honest, just, fair and peaceful" Punjab polls. The charged political environment in Pakistan and reports by stakeholders, including security agencies and the provincial government, would be the cause of the unfair elections in Pakistan's province of Punjab. Further, ECP has stressed the responsibility of not only to conduct elections but to make sure that such elections should be free, fair, and transparent, so that the voters can cast their votes freely, without fear, and peacefully, as per The Express Tribune citing the report.
Further, the Pakistan elections organisation has warned, "It is re-iterated that the poll date of 8th October 2023 as announced earlier is in keeping with the ground realities and it is also believed that if this itinerary is not followed, it may lead to anarchy and chaos in our country, the responsibility of which ECP cannot withstand." The ECP has also argued that "there is another constitutional imperative in Article 218(3) of the constitution, obligating the Commission to organise and conduct the Elections to ensure that the standards of honesty, justness, and fairness are fully met and not compromised on any account.
"If there is an absence of a conducive environment and foolproof security, one imperative of 90 days will be at the cost of another constitutional imperative which is apparently not the intention of the framers of the Constitution", said the Pakistan elections organisation.