KP governor backtracks from provincial election announcement, seeks delay in polls

Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Governor Haji Ghulam Ali on Friday backtracked from his decision to hold provincial elections on May 28.

he has written a letter to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) urging a delay in elections due to fear of terrorism incidents, lack of security officials for the exercise and issues related to ongoing census.

He also asked the ECP to discuss the matter with all stakeholders including defence and interior ministers.

On March 14, the governor had verbally told reporters that elections in the province will be held on May 28 after President Dr Arif Alvi advised him to implement the Supreme Court’s (SC) order and announce the date for elections “to avoid any complication”.

The issue of elections in Punjab and KP has been a contentious one.

Last year, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan had announced that his governments in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa would dissolve their assemblies to pave the way for fresh elections. This was eventually achieved in January.

However, delays over polls remained. As per law, the ECP is bound to hold elections within 90 days of an assembly being dissolved.

In a 3-2 verdict on March 1, the SC said elections for Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s dissolved assemblies must be conducted within 90 days.

In its ruling, the top court observed that the KP governor was in breach of his constitutional duty and should announce the date for elections.

The bench directed the KP governor to appoint a date for elections in the province after consulting the ECP.