The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Wednesday directed the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to decide within seven days the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) application seeking to halt the appointment of 22 officers in Punjab, a private TV channel reported. LHC Justice Muzamil Akhtar Shabir issued the direction on the PTI petition containing grievances against the postings of twenty-two officers that according to them may influence upcoming elections in Punjab. PTI’s Senior Vice President Fawad Chaudhry had filed the petition seeking directions to quarters concerned to restrain from posting twenty-two officers in Punjab until the forthcoming general elections in the province are held and formation of the government is completed. The petitioner made Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) through its secretary, Federation of Pakistan through its secretary establishment division, Province of Punjab through chief secretary, Government of Punjab through secretary to government and Inspector General Police (IGP) Punjab respondents in the case. As proceedings commenced, the PTI’s counsel argued that they have strong concerns over the said officers and their appointment be stopped before elections. “These officers may affect the upcoming elections,” it added. The Punjab law officer opposed the arguments of the petitioner’s counsel contending that the government assisted the ECP in conducting elections, adding that maintaining law and order in the province is not possible without the appointments of the officers. The petitioner in his petition contended the court that the petitioner’s political party is inter-alia aggrieved of the failure of the ECP and other respondents to ensure redressal of grievances raised by the present petitioner (PTI) through its application wherein the ECP, on January 25, 2023, was addressed expressing serious concerns about the twenty-two (22) senior government officers (11 PAS / PMS Officers and 11 Officers of the Police Service) and also requested that such officers should not be given postings in the province of Punjab, during the forthcoming general elections to the provincial assembly of the Punjab. He told the court the brief facts leading to filing this petition contending on January 12, 2022 the then chief minister of Punjab in exercise of his powers under Article 112 of the Constitution advised the governor of the Punjab to dissolve the provincial assembly and ultimately, the Punjab Assembly stood dissolved on January 14, 2023, whereafter, the Caretaker Chief Minister Punjab was appointed who assumed office on January 22, 2022. That as the elections were due to be held within a period of 90 days from the dissolution of the assembly, therefore, the present petitioner (PTI) promptly expressed its serious concerns before the ECP about the twenty-two (22) senior government officers and also requested that such officers should not be given postings in the province of Punjab, during the forthcoming general elections for the provincial assembly. However, the ECP miserably failed to act in accordance with law and the constitution and has not only slept over the petitioner’s application but instead granted free hand to the “controversial” caretaker government to issue blanket orders of transfer and postings throughout the province, read the petition. “Therefore, soon after the assumption of office by the caretaker government, the political opponents of the last political government, started exerting their political influence to procure large scale postings and transfer orders to get posted their favourites on important posts, especially on the posts which could materially affect the conduct of fair and free elections.” The petitioner also prayed the court to pass directions to all the respondents, to ensure that such government officers against whom any political party expresses its reservations regarding any likelihood of materially affecting the forthcoming elections, should not be posted in the Punjab and be forthwith removed from his post and substituted with some other honest and impartial officer of good repute, until the forthcoming general elections are held and the process of formation of government is completed.