Introduction: On August 17, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) addressed a significant issue concerning the caretaker government in the province of Punjab. In a formal letter to the Punjab Chief Secretary, the ECP raised concerns about actions that it deemed illegal and beyond the mandate of the caretaker government. This development has sparked discussions about the boundaries of the caretaker government’s authority.
ECP’s Letter Highlights Legal Limitations: The special secretary of the Election Commission referred to Section 230(2)(a) of the Election Act, 2017, which imposes limitations on the caretaker government’s authority. The caretaker government has not authorized to make substantial policy decisions, except those necessary for the routine operation of the government.
Illegal Changes in Land Use: One of the primary concerns was the approval to change the use of land” in various of Punjab. Notably, Deputy Commissioners reported to issuing No Objection Certificates (NOCs) to housing societies. This had led to the compromise of green areas, conversion of agricultural land, and disruption in residential areas.
Suspicions of Corruption: The Election Commission did not shy away from mentioning that there were suspicions of corruption surrounding some of these actions. These concerns have raised questions about the transparency and legality of these decisions.
A Reminder of the Caretaker Government’s Role: Opportunity to remind the government of Punjab that such policy decisions were not within their mandate. According to the Election Commission, these decisions should only made by an elected government.
Conclusion: The concerns raised by the Election Commission regarding the caretaker government’s actions in Punjab highlight the importance. This development will likely lead to further discussions and scrutiny of the actions taken.