Following the meeting between President Arif Alvi and the Election Commission of Pakistan, February 8, 2024 was determined as the date for the upcoming general elections. The ECP had told the court earlier in the day that it had fixed the date as February 11 but was instructed to meet the president first.
Those who thought that there would not be an election soon were relieved with the agreement. This is undoubtedly very good news; although this means that the ECP will once again abandon its commitments, as this date is slightly later than the “end of January” deadline that the electoral body promised in late September and reiterated last week. .
It also means a 95-day violation of the Constitution. It also means a 95-day violation of the Constitution’s election calendar. During the hearing, the court rejected the arguments of the ECP and the law ministry that the president did not have the authority to announce election dates.
This issue appears to be resolved now. Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa announced the court’s decision, stating that the deadline set by the president and the ECP must be adhered to. “The Supreme Court will announce the final date of the vote,” he said.
This should be the signal for the EKP and all political parties to make serious plans for the elections. The former has three months to guarantee “a free, fair, impartial and inclusive election.”
Given the current political atmosphere and constant complaints from parties that they are not being treated fairly, this seems like a tall order. It is imperative for political parties to reorganize, thoroughly vet their candidates, plan campaigns, and begin mobilizing voters ahead of the election. Since not much was done before the drill, they face a difficult and long process ahead of them. They need to take advantage of the advantage given to them by the Supreme Court.
ECP will be continuously monitored as the fog clears. This year, he has deliberately violated the Constitution several times, always defending the law as necessary to ensure a high degree of fairness in elections.
After all these violations, if the parties involved are still not given an equal chance to present their cases to the public, everything will be in vain. The use of Article 254 is also being discussed, at least to provide legal justification for postponing the election. But that doesn’t mean those who plan to violate the Constitution will get away with it. There must be terrible and severe punishments for all involved.
news source (dailythepatriot.com)