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Punjab, KP Governors decline fixing election dates

ISLAMABAD: The governors of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtun­khwa have declined to affix dates for general elections. Both rather advised the ECP to consult relevant authorities and take stock of the current security and economic situation before deciding in this regard.

Punjab Governor Stance

Punjab Governor Balighur Rehman in a letter to the ECP, said that as Punjab Assembly was not dissolved by his order, the clause 3 of Article 105 did not apply in this situation.

“In the existing security and economic situation of the country, ECP may like to consult all relevant stakeholders. As the date of general elections of Punjab Assembly is fixed, conditions for holding the elections in a transparent and fair manner need to be duly met”

While the Punjab governor chose to communicate with the ECP through his principal secretary, KP Governor directly wrote to the Chief Election Commissioner.

The KP Governor Position

Governor KP said he dissolved the KP Assembly under Article 112 of the Constitution upon the advice of the chief minister. He said clause 3 of Article 105 provides that the governor of a province shall appoint a date for general elections, which are to take place as per Article 224, read with clause 3 of Article 218 of the Constitution.

“However, in view of the alarming law and order situation in the province and a series of terrorist attacks during the past few days, it would be advisable that before fixing a date for the general elections, the ECP should consult and take into confidence the relevant institutions/LEAs as well as political parties, to ensure that conduct of general elections in a fair, free and peaceful manner in the province is possible,” the letter read.

The letter, whose copies were also sent to KP’s caretaker CM and chief sec­retary, were written in wake of Peshawar blast. The attack killed more than 101, mostly police officials.

But even before that incident, the KP governor linked fresh polls with improvement in the province’s security and economic situation. Talking to reporters last week, he hinted at a possible delay in polls, saying political forces should focus on finding solutions to fix the financial and security situation and not the elections.

Referring to terrorist attacks in the tribal areas, he wondered whether elections could be held in Waziristan, Bannu and Lakki Marwat. “If a province demands to conduct a census first or intelligence agencies advise to postpone elections, how will the elections be held?” he asked.

However, KP Caretaker Chief Minister Azam Khan dispelled the impression of delaying polls because of the current law and order situation. Talking to reporters after a visit to the Peshawar Police Lines on Tuesday, he said that the recent bomb blasts in different areas of the province had no concern with holding the elections.

“Terrorist incidents have been occurring in southern districts, including Dera Ismail Khan, Tank and Lakki Marwat, for a long time,” he said.


The provincial assemblies of Punjab and KP were dissolved on Jan 14 and Jan 18, respectively, in an attempt to pave the way for snap polls.

On Jan 24, the ECP wrote letters to the principal secretaries of Punjab and KP governors, suggesting elections in Punjab between April 9 and 13, and in KP between April 15 and 17.

The letters cited Article 224 of the Constitution requiring the holding of elections for an assembly within 90 days of its dissolution. The ECP said that under Article 105(3a) of the Constitution, the governor is mandated to fix a date for holding elections within 90 days from the date of dissolution of the assembly.

The ECP stressed that the election date might not be taken beyond April 13 in the case of Punjab and April 17 in the case of KP. Subsequently, the ECP secretary also wrote demi-official letters to the principal secretaries of the two governors on Jan 29.

A senior ECP official shared that the commission would deliberate on the letters and take a decision accordingly.

Zahra Sikandar
Written By

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