According to the two-judge bench, composed of Justice Chaudhry Muhammad Iqbal and Justice Muzamil Akhtar Shabbir, there is no constitutional provision for consultation between the ECP and the governor when declaring the election date.
The Advocate General of Punjab (AGP) Shan Gul informed the court that there is no such provision in the Constitution or any law that requires the ECP to consult the governor when announcing the election date. In addition, the AGP stated that the announcement of the election date by the President was unlawful.
In its appeal, the ECP argued that neither the Elections Act of 2017 nor the constitutional provisions gave the commission any authority over the declaration of the election date. In addition, the appeal asks the court to overturn the single bench’s decision, which had mandated that the ECP immediately announce the date of the Punjab Assembly elections following consultation with the governor.
The PTI and Munir Ahmad’s petitions asking the governor and the ECP to announce the date of the province’s general elections after the assembly was dissolved were granted by the single bench.
According to the governor’s appeal, the single bench ignored the Constitution’s and the Election Act 2017’s provisions regarding the ECP’s responsibility for announcing the election date. Additionally, it stated that the single judge had erred in assuming that the governor had the power to declare general elections in accordance with Article 129 of the Constitution.
On behalf of one of the respondents at the hearing, Advocate Azhar Siddique informed the court that only 52 days remained in the 90-day window and the governor was not yet prepared to announce the election date.
The hearing was postponed until February 27 after the bench granted the additional attorney general’s request for additional time to consult with the Pakistani attorney general.
The hearing’s main question was whether the Constitution allowed the ECP and the governor to consult one another regarding Punjab’s announcement of the election date. The ECP and Governor Balighur Rehman filed ICAs against the single bench’s decision ordering the ECP to immediately announce the election date after consulting the governor, while the AGP argued that there was no such provision.