ECP likely to 'postpone' Senate election in KP amid reserved seats controversy

Top electoral body says Senate poll’s time may be extended in KP till administration of oaths

By
Nausheen Yusuf
Paramilitary soldiers stand guard outside the election commission building in Islamabad on August 2, 2022. — AFP
Paramilitary soldiers stand guard outside the election commission building in Islamabad on August 2, 2022. — AFP

  • CEC issues seven-page verdict on oath-taking matter.
  • No voter cannot be deprived of this fundamental right: ECP.
  • Commission may "extend time for completion of Senate election".


ISLAMABAD: In a seven-page verdict issued today, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has signalled to postpone Senate election — which is scheduled to be held on April 2 — in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa amid ongoing issue regarding oath-taking of the lawmakers on reserved seats in the province.

The Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) on Thursday issued the seven-page verdict on application regarding issuance of orders for administering of oaths to the lawmakers and suspension of the Senate poll till the administration of oaths to the extent of KP province.

Right to vote is a fundamental right and no voter cannot be deprived of this fundamental right, read the verdict, adding that the commission has ample power to issue such directions and make such consequential orders to ensure that election is conducted honestly, justly, fairly and in accordance with law.

“Therefore, in case of non compliance of directions and order issued under Article 218(3) read with Section 4(1) and Section 8(c) of the Act, the Commission may in addition to any other action may extend the time for completion of the Senate election to the extent of the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa till the administration of oath to members of the Provincial Assembly against the including the applicants,” it added.

Earlier, opposition parties in the KP Assembly moved the Peshawar High Court (PHC) seeking the court's intervention on the issue of oath-taking of members on the reserved seats.

The petition, filed by members of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), urges the court to see that the members elected on the reserved seats are sworn in to be able to cast their votes in the upcoming Senate elections.

"Failure to administer the oath to members elected on the KP reserved reflects 'mal-intent'," the plea reads further praying the court to postpone the Senate polls if the elected members are not sworn in.

The development comes as the issue of oath-taking of members on the reserved seats is facing uncertainty owing to the deadlock between the KP government and opposition parties, wherein the former has objected to the KP governor's decision to summon the assembly session upon the opposition's request.