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General Elections 2018: Supreme Court Suspends the LHC Ruling

By Maryam Iraj

Today, Supreme Court of Pakistan suspended the Lahore High Court ruling on the necessary changes in the nomination forms. Given the short span of time, it appeared almost difficult to reprint and distribute the forms in all constituencies in a timely manner. 

The order of the apex court of Pakistan was delivered on petitions filed by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and by the former Speaker National Assembly, Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, against the 1 June 2018 ruling of the Lahore High Court.

Mian Saqib Nisar,Chief Justice of Pakistan, categorically stated upon his return from Russia that the polls would be held on 25 July 2018 without the delay of a single day. He sternly dismissed the rumors by saying, “The ECP will be solely responsible if the elections are delayed,”

The petitioners, Election Commission of Pakistan & Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, took the stance that the verdict of Lahore High Court verdict would cause an unavoidable delay in the holding of general elections 2018. And therefore, pleaded with the apex court to annul the decision keeping in view of logistic restraints (reprinting and redistribution of forms).

Here is the notification of Election Commission of Pakistan (2018) issued the Deputy Director (Coordination) Waqas Ahmad Malik with the revised schedule of nomination papers. The following notification clearly stipulates that in addition to filling nomination papers from 2 June 2018 to 8 June 2018, and from publication of the names of the nomination papers on 8 June 2018, all the remaining clauses shall remain intact and polls would be held on 25 July 2018.

While talking to the journalists yesterday on 2 June 2018, Additional Secretary of ECP,Akhtar Nazeer, clearly articulated that the 2018 polls would be held on the scheduled date, July 25 of this year, regardless of the rumors and LHC verdict.  Nazeer further said that the commission would immediately file appeals against the high court verdicts about nomination papers and annulment of delimitation of constituencies in a number of districts, which they did and won.

The final Delimitation 2018 of the constituencies is as following:

Final List of Constituencies (Final Delimitation 2018)

  • National Assembly 
  • Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
  • FATA
  • Federal Capital Islamabad
  • Punjab
  • Sindh
  • Baluchistan
  • Provincial Assemblies
  • Punjab
  • Sindh
  • Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
  • Balochistan

Preliminary Delimitation 2018

  • Preliminary Report of Constituencies
  • National Assembly Constituencies (NA)
  • Provincial Assemblies Constituencies (PAs)

An official of the ECP said that returning officers will not receive nomination papers on June 3 and 4 as the deadline is June 2nd.

Lahore High Court on Friday rejected the new nomination forms which excluded clauses such as dual nationality, foreign bank accounts, and many other such clauses which could filter the corrupt elements  of political mafia. The form revision was approved by parliament under the Election Act 2017, hence directing the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to start the process of issuing nomination forms afresh after improving them with addition of necessary details about candidates who will contest the elections.

There were two strong elements which led to the demystification of the upcoming general elections 2018: the LHC verdict and a resolution passed by the Baluchistan Assembly to seek delay in the polls. Such delaying innuendos further incited the major political parties of Pakistan such as Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N), Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). They have expressed serious concerns over the attempts which were in full-swing to delay the elections.

The commission had stopped issuance of nomination forms for General Election 2018 after the Lahore High Court ruling two days ago. But from today onward, with the issuance of the embedded notification every halted process regarding polls has been resumed.

Follow the author on Twitter at m_r_a_. 

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