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Pakistan

Supreme Court orders Punjab elections to be held on May 14

  • Rules ECP's decision to postpone polls 'unconstitutional'
Published April 4, 2023

The Supreme Court (SC) said on Tuesday that the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) decision to postpone polls in Punjab till October 8 is unconstitutional.

The SC bench maintained that 13 days were wasted because of the ECP’s unlawful decision.

The court ruled that the Constitution and law do not allow the ECP to postpone the elections, ordering that the elections in Punjab be held on May 14 instead of April 30.

The apex court directed the caretaker government in Punjab to assist the ECP with elections next month and said the federal government has been asked to assist the commission, ordering authorities to release Rs21 billion to the ECP by April 10.

Elections in Punjab to be held on April 30: President Alvi

It also asked the commission to inform the court if the government refused to do so.

As per the court, candidates will be able to submit nomination papers from April 10. The ECP will publish the list of candidates on April 19, and electoral symbols will be issued by April 20.

The ECP had earlier set the date for elections in Punjab on April 30, but then postponed them to October 8 — in Punjab as well as KP.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) filed a plea in the top court against this decision.

A three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial, and comprising Justice Ijazul Ahsan, Justice Munib Akhtar, announced its reserved verdict today.

The initial bench comprised Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Ijaz Ul Ahsan, Justice Munib Akhtar, Justice Aminuddin Khan, and Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail. However, Justice Aminuddin and Justice Mandokhail had recused themselves from hearing the case.

Ahead of the hearing, heavy security was deployed with a large contingent of police guarding the main entrance of the top court.

Moreover, the secretary of defence submitted a report regarding the security situation in the country to the judges in their chamber.

Response to verdict

Following the verdict, PTI’s Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that today was an important day for the country’s politics. He said the people of Pakistan should be proud that there are those who did not come under pressure and were not affected by threats.

“I would like to congratulate Pakistan’s lawyer fraternity who stood by the chief justice,” he said.

The PTI leader said he is requesting Punjab’s civil service and police to ensure fair elections and be neutral.

Federal Minister for Law and Justice Azam Nazeer Tarar had said on Monday that it would not accept the SC’s decision on a sensitive and important issue if it was made “in haste”.

Govt says it will not accept SC’s ‘hasty decision’

Timeline of hearing

The hearing on PTI’s plea began on March 27 when Justice Munib Akhtar issued a notice to the ECP for going against Supreme Court orders of holding elections in April and postponing them to October.

On its second hearing, Justice Bandial said that ECP’s decision to postpone Punjab assembly elections was “taken in haste”.

The chief justice said that this was the first time the Supreme Court is examining the possibility of postponing elections and questioned whether the constitution allows this. He also proposed a pay cut for himself and other judges to enable authorities to fund elections across the country.

On Thursday, Justice Aminuddin Khan recused himself from hearing the case, followed by Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail a day later.

During the hearing on Monday, the bench reserved the judgment, with the CJP saying the political side still “has time to negotiate, and to settle rather to create yet another issue”.

“We are not rigid,” he said.

He said as unfortunately there was no political dialogue, the case had been brought to the Supreme Court.

Comments

Comments are closed.

John Apr 04, 2023 01:15pm
Rule of law upheld! Great! What about punishing those who tried to deviate from the constitution?
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Maqbool Apr 04, 2023 02:08pm
What rule of law ??? Isn’t May 14 th more than 90 days, so now everyone breaks my country’s constitution .
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Truthisbitter813 Apr 04, 2023 02:09pm
Unkhanstitutional, not unconstitutional. What else could be expected of Imrandaar coward corrupt judges.
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Builder Apr 04, 2023 02:17pm
Why were the assemblies dissolved in the first place? Just 'cause he could? Is this some sort of game?
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BK Apr 04, 2023 02:54pm
@Builder, Why was vote of no confidence undertaken to remove a sitting, elected and working government? Was that a joke?
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Tulukan Mairandi Apr 04, 2023 04:01pm
The transfer of US$5 Million has been made from Hasan Niazi (Imran Niazi heir) to CJP
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Shahid Khan Apr 04, 2023 04:03pm
It was expected. No more fun with constitution please
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Shahid Khan Apr 04, 2023 04:05pm
@Builder, the constitution allows CM to dissolve it. This is no point btw
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Shahid Khan Apr 04, 2023 04:05pm
@Truthisbitter813, the same bench removed Khan from office. Lol
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TimeToMovveOn Apr 04, 2023 04:51pm
May 14 is more than 90 days. If you can hold it on May 14 and that is constitutional, then Oct 8 is also contitutional
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Builder Apr 04, 2023 06:00pm
@BK See what @Shahid Khan said - if dissolution of an assemblies is allowed by constitution, so is vote of no confidence. If both were right, and assuming IK is more loyal to the country, why didn't he abstain from his act for the sake of love of his country? @Shahid Khan It indeed is a point or vote of no confidence is not a point either.
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test Apr 04, 2023 06:31pm
Elections must be held at the same time in all the provinces of Pakistan. Is Judiciary kidding with the political system ?
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