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ISLAMABAD: As the apex court is all set to announce its verdict on the delay in Punjab election today (Tuesday), Federal Minister for Law and Justice Azam Nazeer Tarar said on Monday that the government would not accept if the Supreme Court announces its decision on a sensitive and important issue “in haste”.

Speaking in the National Assembly, he said that “we will not accept if a decision is made in haste on such a sensitive and important issue”.

“We have tried our best to maintain the institution’s sanctity. It is the same institution which gave nine years, instead of three months, to a dictator,” he added. He said that the Attorney General for Pakistan, Mansoor Awan, asked for the formation of a six-member bench with judges who were not present on the bench before, adding “now we hear the news that the verdict has been reserved.” Sharing his views on the matter during the parliament’s session, he said that a long consultation was held among the ruling coalition on the Supreme Court hearing.

He added that the government had submitted a request to become a party in the case for the last six days, and added: “It demanded transparency to be brought to Supreme Court’s proceedings as when representatives of political parties appeared in court today (Monday), they expressed displeasure”.

He said that despite expressing no confidence, the bench took matters forward, adding “our request was to make a bench that is acceptable to all. The decision of four judges against three has come out.” He said that the government’s lawyers said that their objections should be heard before the hearing and that the government is not being made a party despite continuous requests. “We were party earlier, but it is not known when we were refused to be one,” he said. Commenting on the differences between the judiciary, Tarar added that voices are also being raised within the institution, but they are being ignored.

He said that institutions earn their respect through their conduct, adding “the voices of the institution’s judges are rising, but they are being suppressed and if the decision is made in a hurry, history will write it on black pages.” “If such an important national issue is decided in haste, then it will be controversial,” he maintained. He said that the chief justice asked political parties to resolve the issue on their own, adding “I would ask the chief justice to first fix your own house and first look at your own house and listen to the voices rising inside it.” The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), he added, had postponed the elections in Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa keeping in view the security, political, and economic challenges faced by Pakistan at the current juncture.

The minister said that Article 224 asked for the general elections at the same time across the country, while as per Article 254 polls could be postponed due to the extraordinary situation.

“The ECP has the mandate to adjust the schedule of the election keeping in view the ground realities,” he added.

He viewed that the ECP had announced the date of the election in October after hearing from all the stakeholders.

“There were several examples in the past when elections were postponed due to certain reasons,” he added.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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