LAHORE – The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Tuesday told the Lahore High Court that instead of a tribunal, no one could interfere in the electoral process.

Khalid Ranjha, counsel for the ECP, further told the court that millions of rupees had been spend for arrangements of by-polls announced by the ECP in various constituencies of Punjab. He requested the court not to stop the by-polls.

Justice Mansoor Ali Shah was hearing some petitions about by-election in various constituencies including Gujrat, Sahiwal, Jehlum and Sialkot of Punjab.

The court recorded the argument of ECP and directed the counsel to come for further arguments on November 29.

The petitioners said the constitutional term of the parliament was going to expire in March 2013. They said according to law, the ECP could not hold by-elections 100 days before the general elections. They appealed to the court to restrain the ECP from holding by-polls being unlawful.

DGs served notices: The LHC issued notices to director generals (DGs) of Lahore Development Authority (LDA) and Parks and Horticultural Authority (PHA) in a contempt petition about the ‘Dongi Ground’ of Gulburg.

Justice Nasir Saeed Sheikh directed the DGs of LDA and PHA to submit detailed reply along with complete record of the case within three weeks.

The contempt petition has been moved by Ahmad Imran Ghazi against Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and officials of city district government.

The petitioner said in 2011, the high court ordered the Punjab government to remove all the constructions made on the ‘Dongi Ground’ by the government and bring the park into its real shape. He stated the court had also directed authorities to take action against official involved in constructing buildings on the park.

Former Punjab chief minister Ch Pervaiz Elahi had started the project in 2006, with the aim of constructing a multi-million project of IMAX theatre and a shopping mall at the Doongi Ground. However, after long litigation, an LHC full bench allowed the Punjab government in September 2011 to construct a parking plaza, library and bowling alley on 18 percent of the 39 kanal area of Doongi Ground, Gulberg, while the remaining area would still serve as a public park. He pointed out Shahbaz Sharif in his statement in 2009 also pledged to restore the park in its original shape.

But, now the chief minister had approved construction of a library on whole area, 39 kanal, he added.