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President Arif Alvi announces April 30 as date for Punjab elections

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  • ECP ready to fulfil constitutional obligations, ECP says.
  • Election commission now awaits KP governor’s response.
  • PTI says ECP’s move a “step in the right direction”.

ISLAMABAD: President Arif Alvi has announced April 30 as the date for the general polls in Punjab, hours after the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) proposed dates for the election in the province as directed by the Supreme Court (SC).

“President Dr. Arif Alvi has announced the date of 30th April 2023 (Sunday) for holding the general elections of the Provincial Assembly of Punjab,” tweeted the President’s office on Friday. 

Dr Alvi’s office said that the decision was made by the president after “considering the dates proposed by the Election Commission of Pakistan”.

Earlier today, the ECP — in a letter to President Alvi — had recommended that the polls for the provincial assembly in Punjab be held between April 30 and May 07.

The election commission met today — the third consecutive meeting — with Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja in the chair.

“The commission is ready to fulfil its constitutional and legal obligations after the selection of a date by the president,” the letter stated.

However, in a letter to Governor Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Ghulam Ali, the commission said it was waiting for his response in light of the SC order.

The Punjab and KP assemblies were dissolved on January 14 and January 18 respectively, and under the law, elections were to be held within 90 days after their dissolution.

However, after the governors’ refusal to fix a date for polls, the issue landed in the Supreme Court which directed the president to announce the election date in consultation with the commission.

It also ordered the KP governor to give an election date.

‘Step in the right direction’

Meanwhile, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf welcomed the development and appreciated the ECP for taking a “step in the right direction”.

In a video statement, senior PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry said, “The Supreme Court, in its order, had allowed the president and the ECP to go beyond the 90-day time limit, but had used the word ‘bare minimum’, implying that the extension should be as small as possible.”

“We think that the ECP has taken a step in the right direction and the president now will announce a date for polls.”

Congratulating the nation over the development, Fawad said it is a victory for PTI, the nation, and the Constitution of Pakistan.

Supreme Court order

The apex court had noted in its verdict on March 1 that in “ordinary circumstances” the polls should have been held on April 9 as announced by the president.

“However, we are informed that on account of the delay in the emergence of the date for the holding of the general election, it may not be possible to meet the 90-day deadline stipulated by the Constitution. 

“It is also the case that (possibly on account of a misunderstanding of the law) the Election Commission did not make itself available for consultation as required under Section 57(1) of the 2017 Act,” read the court order.

“The Election Commission is therefore directed to use its utmost efforts to immediately propose, keeping in mind Sections 57 and 58 of the 2017 Act, a date to the President that is compliant with the aforesaid deadline. 

“If such a course is not available, then the Election Commission shall in like manner propose a date for the holding of the poll that deviates to the barest minimum from the aforesaid deadline. After consultation with the Election Commission, the President shall announce a date for the holding of the general election to the Punjab Assembly,” it further directed.

On elections in KP, the verdict directed the governor to announce a date for the polls after consulting the ECP.

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After taking an oath to lead JI, Hafiz Naeem declares an anti-government movement.

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The JI’s headquarters, Mansoora, hosted an oath-taking ceremony that was attended by workers, party leaders, and former chief of the party Sirajul Haq, Liaqat Baloch, and others from around the nation.

Speaking at the event, Hafiz Naeem—who was elected as the JI’s sixth Ameer—reaffirmed the party’s commitment to advancing its principles and goals and stated that he believed the JI would lead the nation as a whole.

He added that his party would start a broad campaign against the “fake democratic” process and Form 47, which the government “imposed.” He went on, “Workers should get ready for the movement.”

Hafiz Naeem further urged the JI to collaborate with like-minded groups who feel that the public mandate was “stolen” on February 8.

Hafiz Naeem succeeded Maulana Abul Ala Maududi (1941–72), Sirajul Haq (2013–2024), Qazi Hussain Ahmed (1987–2008), Munawer Hassan (2008–2013), and Mian Tufail Muhammad (1972–87) as the sixth individual to occupy the top spot in the party.

Sirajul Haq was replaced as Ameer of Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan by Hafiz Naeem, who was elected earlier on April 4.

Voting was done by some 45,000 party members nationwide, according to the election commission that the JIP’s Majlis-e-Shura created.

Approximately 6,000 female party members participated in the election process, according to the election commission. There was a registered turnout of 82 percent overall.

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Hamid Raza says Nawaz Sharif used the Faizabad sit-in to criticize institutions.

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The individual asserted that they had proof of the PML-N’s betrayal during the 2017 Faizabad sit-in, citing knowledge of the protest from both General Faiz Hameed (Retd) and former Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa (Retd).

The PML-N workers in Rawalpindi were instructed to make sure that people participated in the sit-in, while the then-Punjab administration assisted in organizing it, according to Hamid Raza.

The head of the SIC said that while the goals of the Faizabad sit-in were correct, the event was deliberately planned to include individuals who carried signs criticizing government agencies.

During the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) sit-in, he said, workers for the PML-N were also among those who received money.

Remember that the investigation commission cleared former spy chief Faiz Hameed of all charges when it was established to look into the 2017 sit-in at the Faizabad Interchange in Islamabad.

To protest the changes made to the Election Act of 2017, which changed the word “oath” to “declaration,” the TLP staged a sit-in at the Faizabad junction on November 8, 2017.

In a submission to the Supreme Court, former PEMRA chairman Absar Alam said that pressure was applied to the media regulating body during the Faizabad sit-in by former ISI commander Faiz Hameed.

After the Fact-Finding Committee report was rejected by the Supreme Court, the federal government formed an inquiry commission led by retired Inspector General Akhtar Ali Shah.

The probe panel, however, handed the former intelligence head the clean pass in its 149-page report, which was released Thursday.

Faiz Hameed was granted authorization for the arrangement, according to the commission, by the then-DG ISI and Army Chief. Additionally included in the article was the inclusion of Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal and then-Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi in the arrangement.

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The IHC upholds Bushra Bibi’s request to be transferred from Bani Gala to Adiala Jail.

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Bushra Bibi’s request to be transferred from Bani Gala to Adiala Jail was granted by the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday.

The former first lady Bushra Bibi’s application to be transferred from Bani Gala sub-jail to Adiala was heard today.

Details reveal that the Islamabad High Court heard a motion to restore the denied petition about the relocation of Bushra Bibi, the wife of PTI founder, from sub-jail Bani Gala to Adiala.

The application for the reinstatement of appeal was heard by Justice Miagul Hassan Aurangzeb. When state attorney Abdul Rehman entered the courtroom on behalf of the state, Usman Riaz Gill represented the former first lady.

State counsel did not object to the appeal being restored during court proceedings. At the following hearing, the court asked for assistance in determining what conditions must be met for a location to be designated as a sub-jail.

The court also mandated that Bushra Bibi’s medical examination be scheduled. The court subsequently delayed the hearing and gave instructions to fix the appeal for April 22.

Recall that the attorneys for former first lady Bushra Bibi, Barrister Salman Safdar, Usman Riaz Gill, and Khalid Yusuf Chaudhary, had filed an application to restore the dismissed appeal a day ago, but the Islamabad High Court had denied their request to pursue the case.

The petition contended that the traffic gridlock at the Sarina Chowk checkpoint was the reason for the delay in getting to the court.

The attorneys did not purposefully take their time getting to court. They warned that the petitioner would suffer irreversible loss if the petition was not resurrected.

IHC Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb has voiced his displeasure at the absence of attorneys from the court.

According to Judge Aurangzeb, the former first lady would have been imprisoned if Bushra Bibi’s attorneys had prevailed in this case. The attorneys themselves were opposed to Bushra Bibi’s incarceration.

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