LAHORE-Punjab Government has requested the Lahore High Court to postpone the upcoming by-election to two seats each of National Assembly and Punjab Assembly in the context of deteriorating law and order situation in the province. Chief Election Commission of Pakistan has announced to hold on November 7 polls in NA-123, Lahore, NA-55 Rawalpindi, PP-82, Jhang and PP-284 Bahawalnagar. The petition in this regard was filed by Chief Secretary and Home Secretary Punjab through advocates Khawaja Haris Ahmad and Mustafa Ramday. Meanwhile, another petition filed on Monday challenged the process of calling fresh nomination papers from new candidates for the constituency NA-123, Lahore. This petition was filed by Chaudhry Muhammad Ilyas Gujjar, a candidate from the constituency. In the first petition it was argued that on account of serious threats to the lives of certain political and religious leaders,a grave law and order situation has emerged in the country in general and in the province of Punjab in particular. They stated that suicide attacks had been carried out against the personnel, as well as the institutions of the law enforcement agencies, particularly in Rawalpindi and Lahore. They submitted said that the Chief Election Commissioner had been seeking reports and recommendations from the petitioner Punjab govt with a view to notifying election schedule to fill the vacant seats but it continued to postpone the holding of the said election on these reports. They said CECs actions were understandable because in any civilised society the security and the safety of a human life which is of paramount consideration. They pointed out that the CEC issued a notice to Chief Secretary Punjab on September 4 last seeking his personal appearance on September 15 in connection with a petition filed by Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad of Awami Muslim League, a candidate from NA-55, Rawalpindi. They submitted that due to arrangements of holy month of Ramazan, the Home Secretary had requested the CEC to defer the hearing and fix some date, preferably after Eid-ul-Fitr. However, the CEC did not wait even for one week and passed an order, fixing November 7 as the date for the holding of the by-election. They argued that CEC had passed impugned order in contravention of the settled principles of 'audi alteram partem (no one should be condemned unheard). According to them, 'petitioner-government might well be more keen than any one else to get through with the elections in question but would not like to grind its own axe at the risk of larger national interests, the security of the State and the safety of the individuals involved in the election process. It was further argued that according to the CEC himself, the situation in question was not all conducive for holding of elections even till June, 2009 and according to the reports received by the petitioner-government there has been no improvement at all in the law and order situation. Even the life of respondent Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad was also in danger besides other political and religious leaders, govt claimed in the petition. They said the situation in fact became further grave after the death of Baitullah Mehsud as a result of success of 'operation Rah-e-Rast in Swat and elsewhere. The arrest and deaths of some senior leaders of some militant organisations including Abu Faraj, and there were apprehensions about a serious backlash by the said defeated elements to divert the attention of the govt, as well as of the law enforcement agencies, petition added. The petition said that recent killing of Mufti Naeemi of Jamia Naeemia of Lahore, killings in Gojra, and attempt on the life of Federal Minister for Religious Affairs were some of the indicators of the reality of the said apprehensions and reports. 'The petitioner govt also has reports that some of the banned organisations such as Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Jaish-e-Mohammad, Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, have also become more active in their nefarious designs besides some so-called national movements and political parties have also decided to target Punjab as a means to destabilise the country. Therefore, the govt pleaded for setting aside the CEC order and the resultant notification. The second petition filed by Ilyas Gujjar, pleaded that the general elections in the country were held on Feb 18, 2008 and as a result of that Makhdoom Javed Hashmi who also contested election from NA-123, Lahore was declared returned candidate. He said that after the completion of process of general election, the CEC announced the schedule for by-election including the constituency of NA-123 Lahore on May 7, 2008. After that the petitioner filed his nomination papers which were accepted by the Returning Officer concerned alongwith other candidates including Mian Nawaz Sharif, Qazi Kamran Gujjar, Muhammad Sajid Latif, Noor Elahi and Dr. Ambar Shahzada. However, he said, the by-election was deferred because of bad law and order situation in the province. Counsel pleaded that the said notification for holding election on Nov 7 next was illegal, and in excess of lawful jurisdiction, taking plea that as per election programme of by-election the nomination papers had already been filed, and subsequently election symbols allotted to the petitioner and other candidates. He requested the court to admit the petition for regular hearing, and the election schedule of by-election to the extent of calling fresh nomination papers from new candidates may kindly be declared illegal. He pleaded for directing the CEC to announce only date of polling for the by-election in NA-123 Lahore between the petitioner and the above said five candidates. Both the petitions have been fixed for hearing before Justice Mian Saqib Nisar on Tuesday (today).