Justice Athar Minallah of the Supreme Court has released his detailed note on the suo motu notice proceedings regarding the delay in holding polls in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab, maintaining that the case was dismissed 4-3.

In his note, Justice Minallah also mentioned the Lahore High Court’s Feb 10 verdict which ordered the ECP to immediately announce the date for elections in Punjab. He also observed that petitions were filed seeking contempt of court proceedings to reinforce the Lahore High Court's order, but the Supreme Court had no reason to doubt the ability and competence of the high court.

He further said that the conduct of political stakeholders has created unprecedented political instability by resorting to conduct "that is devoid of the democratic values of tolerance, dialogue, and debate."

He also noted that the dissolution of the provincial assemblies, as part of a political strategy, raised questions, and the court should not allow its forum to be exploited for advancing political strategies or appear to be encouraging undemocratic conduct and development of the country.

“It is imperative that the political stakeholders rise above their political interests and engage in constructive political dialogue to ensure political stability and democratic norms and values.”

Justice Minallah's detailed note on the suo motu notice proceedings on the delay in holding polls in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab comes amid the criticism the Supreme Court faced over its handling of the matter.

The judge expressed his reservations regarding the premature and pre-emptive proceedings before the court, which were likely to delay the enforcement of the LHC's judgement. He further questioned the conduct of the political stakeholders and their ability to rise above their political interests and engage in constructive political dialogue to ensure political stability and democratic norms and values.

Justice Minallah emphasized the need for the court to preserve public trust and confidence and not appear politically partisan, as the Constitution contemplates. He called for the court to show extreme restraint in matters that involve political stakeholders and to ensure that they do not use its forum for advancing their political strategy or gaining an advantage over other competitors.

He stated that it was the duty of the court to ensure that political stakeholders are not encouraged to bring their disputes to the courts for judicial settlement by bypassing the institutions and forums created under the Constitution.


The Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial on February 22 took notice of the polls in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, citing a "lack of clarity" on the matter.

He subsequently constituted a nine-member bench to hear the case, which was later split into a five-member bench on February 27. After discussions and deliberations in the anteroom of the apex court, the matter was referred back to the CJP, who reconstituted the bench comprising himself and four other judges.

On March 1, the Supreme Court issued a 3-2 verdict directing the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to consult with President Arif Alvi for polls in Punjab and Governor Ghulam Ali for elections in KP. The majority judgment allowed the ECP to propose a poll date that deviates from the 90-day deadline by the "barest minimum" in case of any practical difficulty.

However, Justices Jamal Mandokhail and Syed Mansoor Ali Shah, who were among the four judges who had written additional notes in the Feb 23 order, issued a joint dissenting note arguing that the suo motu proceedings initiated by the CJP were "wholly unjustified" and had been initiated with "undue haste".

They also stated that the reconstitution of the bench was simply an administrative act and could not nullify or brush aside the judicial decisions given by the two judges in the case.


Comments are closed.

KU Apr 07, 2023 08:10pm
The honorable Justice should elaborate as to how a political impasse can be resolved when a sitting government was formed through a no-confidence motion in the center and two caretaker governments in provinces. In each case, these governments do not represent the majority of votes polled in previous elections. What moral and constitutional rights do these governments have in a democratic system?
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Jay Apr 08, 2023 12:00am
Another compromised judge trying to save his skin!
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Jay Apr 08, 2023 12:02am
@KU, the compromised generals and the compromised judges are responsible for the curernt abyss!
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Parvez Apr 08, 2023 01:50am
Coming out with something as absurd as this.....simply destroys his own credibility. A good man.... lead astray. What a pity.
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