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Pakistan top court orders polls in two provinces within 90 days

The Supreme Court says elections for provincial assemblies in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa must be held within three months.

Islamabad, Pakistan – The Supreme Court of Pakistan has ruled that elections must be held within 90 days for the provincial assemblies in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The five-member bench of the Supreme Court, led by Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial, reached a split 3-2 decision on Wednesday.

The assemblies in the two provinces were controlled by former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party. In January, in a bid to force an early election, Khan asked provincial governors to dissolve the two assemblies.

Pakistan traditionally holds provincial and national elections together. The general polls are scheduled for October this year.

According to the constitution of Pakistan, elections must be held within 90 days of the dissolution of a provincial assembly.

On February 21, President Arif Alvi, who is from the PTI, unilaterally announced April 9 as the election date in the two provinces, sparking a constitutional crisis, with experts questioning whether he had the right to do so.

The Supreme Court immediately took note of the president’s announcement to determine which government agency had constitutional responsibility to set election dates.

More details to follow.