Monday, March 20, 2023
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly Speaker Mushtaq Ghani on Monday approached the Supreme Court of Pakistan seeking contempt of court proceedings against Governor Ghulam Ali over a delay in elections in the province.
In his petition, Speaker Ghani has contended that the governor has violated the Constitution and breached his constitutional responsibilities and “persisting to continuously disregard and disobey most clear directions” of the Supreme Court regarding the fixing of the date of elections in the province.
“It is therefore very humbly prayed that the proceedings may very graciously be initiated against Haji Gulam Ali, Contemnor/Respondent No. 1 under Article 204 of the Constitution, Section 3 of the Contempt of Court Ordinance, 2003 and Order XVII of the Supreme Court Rules, 1980 and punish him accordingly,” states the plea filed by the speaker.
The speaker has also urged the apex court to get its orders implemented through the president or “any other suitable functionary” if Governor Ali “is not willing or ready to appoint” a date of the elections in the province.
Last week, KP Governor Ali announced May 28 as the date for elections in the province following a meeting with the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and President Dr Arif Alvi.
The governor also held meetings with the ECP officials to discuss matters related to the general elections for the KP Assembly.
However, days after announcing the date for the polls, the governor stressed that challenges confronting the province be dealt with first.
He had warned that due to the current upward trajectory of terrorism, the free movement of politicians and polling staff is not possible.
The KP Assembly was dissolved in mid-January and a caretaker setup was put in place to hold elections. However, a date was not finalised for the elections despite the Supreme Court's orders.
The Supreme Court, in a split verdict, ruled on March 1 that elections for KP and Punjab assemblies should be held within 90 days.
In the verdict, the apex court noted that there are "different aspects and requirements" for holding polls but ruled that one thing that was "absolutely crucial is the timeframe" for the polls.
It added that Constitution envisages two periods for holding polls — 60 days in case the assembly is dissolved after its term is completed and 90 days in case the assembly is dissolved before the expiry of its term.
The two assemblies — KP and Punjab — where Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) was in majority were dissolved on the directives of party chief Imran Khan to force the federal government to early general elections in the country.