SC hears PTI’s petition on Punjab polls delay

The Supreme Court (SC) of Pakistan on Monday commenced hearing a petition by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) against the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) decision to delay elections in Punjab.

Bench Member Meeting:

A five-member larger bench, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial and comprising Justice Ijazul Ahsan, Justice Munib Akhtar, Justice Aminuddin Khan and Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail is presiding over the hearing today.

PTI approaches the apex court on March 25 maintaining that the ECP’s move to postpone the polls “is in violation of the Constitution as well as the apex court order”.

The Supreme Court (SC) registrar’s office allotted a number to the PTI petition and fixed it for hearing without raising any objection.

The PTI petition added that the party has approached the SC as “the matter involved in the petition is of public importance with reference to enforcement of fundamental rights of the millions of people of Pakistan, particularly the people of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P)”.

The move came after the electoral watchdog, in a surprising development, delayed the election in Punjab till Oct 8 on the grounds that it could not conduct transparent and peaceful polls on the scheduled date of April 30.

The law enforcement agencies, finance, defence, and interior ministries, along with Punjab chief secretary and others, opposed the polls on various grounds and conveyed the circumstances to the concerned authority. Based on their input,

The ECP withdrew its notification regarding the elections in Punjab, postponing the voting for the provincial assembly until Oct 8. It also announced that it would release a fresh election schedule at a later time.

Apex court:

Earlier this month, the apex court ordered that President Arif Alvi should announce the date of the Punjab Assembly election, while the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) governor would set the election date for the K-P assembly in consultation with the ECP.

A five-judge larger bench of the apex court on March 1 gave a 3-2 split verdict on a suo motu case about the election date for the two provincial assemblies after holding hearing for two days.

Then Chief Minister Chaudhry Parvez Elahi dissolved the Punjab Assembly in January on the instructions of PTI Chairman Imran Khan, who also ordered the dissolution of the K-P Assembly in the same month.

The PTI chief has been holding rallies and protests in different cities to force the federal government for calling early election in the country. The dissolution of the Punjab and K-P assemblies was also part of his efforts for early elections.

The federal government has been opposing the early elections. It says that elections should be held on the same day once the incumbent government completes it constitutional term.

The government side argues that holding elections separately would increase political crisis. Both the sides, however, admit that the deadlock has led to political instability and deteriorated economic situation

Published On Logical Baat, March 27, 2023.

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