Just hours after the Supreme Court of Pakistan’s ruling, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) released the election schedule late on Friday night for the upcoming general polls scheduled for February 8, 2024, according to Dawn. The polling process is slated to commence on December 19, marked by the issuance of a public notice by the returning officer (RO). Concurrently, the ECP will recommence training sessions for both ROs and district returning officers (DROs).

This election program extends to include reserved seats for women and non-Muslims in the national assembly and the four provincial assemblies of Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Balochistan.

Significantly, the commission adhered to the Supreme Court’s directives by releasing the election schedule late into the night.

Encountering a setback in the electoral proceedings, the Lahore High Court suspended the commission’s notification concerning the appointment of Returning Officers (ROs) and District Returning Officers (DROs) from the executive branch, contrary to the orders of the Supreme Court, as reported by Dawn.

This verdict from the Lahore High Court came in response to a petition filed by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), the very party that had advocated for timely polls in a plea submitted to the Supreme Court.

After thorough deliberations, the commission filed a petition in the Supreme Court seeking the nullification of the Lahore High Court’s order. The Pakistan Supreme Court granted approval to the plea just a few hours ago, restoring the electoral process on its intended course.

Earlier, President Arif Alvi of Pakistan dissolved the National Assembly three days before its scheduled completion of the five-year term, following the advice of then-Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.

The previous government prematurely dissolved the lower house to ensure that elections were slated 90 days later, in accordance with the Pakistan Constitution. However, this did not materialize as the Election Commission of Pakistan stated its inability to meet the 90-day deadline, citing the need to work on the fresh delimitation of constituencies after the Council of Common Interests (CCI) approved the results of the 2023 digital census.

After the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) made its decision, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and several other parties submitted a plea in the Supreme Court urging for punctual elections. In response to this plea, the Supreme Court directed the ECP and the president to engage in consultations, leading to a mutually agreed-upon election date of February 8.

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