Pakistan

Ensure elections on Feb 8, SC directs govt

  • Three-member bench takes up several petitions to hold general elections within 90 days as stipulated by the Constitution
Published November 3, 2023

The Supreme Court (SC) ordered on Friday the government to ensure the conduct of general elections on February 8.

A three-member bench, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa and comprising Justice Aminuddin Khan and Justice Athar Minallah, was hearing petitions filed by the Supreme Court Bar Association (SBCA) and others seeking directives to hold general elections within 90 days as stipulated by the Constitution.

During the hearing, Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) Mansoor Usman Awan told the bench that the minutes of meeting between President Arif Alvi and the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) would be submitted in court shortly.

He later presented Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja’s letter regarding the election date before the bench along with the minutes of his meeting with the president.

However, the CJP objected the president’s signatures were missing from the record presented in court.

Meanwhile, the AGP read out the ECP notification in court, which announced February 8, 2024 as poll date for the general elections.

The chief justice noted that all the respondents have given their approval.

Thursday’s hearing

On Thursday, the lawyer of the ECP told the Supreme Court that elections will be held on February 11.

ECP’s counsel, Sajeel Swati said the process of drawing constituencies would be completed by January 29.

The CJP directed the ECP to confer with President Alvi on the poll date, and to appear before the bench on Friday with a final election date after consultation with the president.

Later, President Dr Arif Alvi and the ECP agreed to hold general elections in the country on February 8.

The President’s House confirmed the development in a post on X (formerly Twitter).

“On the order of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja along with Attorney General of Pakistan Mansoor Usman Awan and four members of the ECP met with President Arif Alvi at the President’s House.

“In the meeting, the date for holding the next general elections in the country was discussed. […] After a detailed discussion, the meeting unanimously agreed to hold general elections in the country on February 8, 2024,” the statement read.

Background

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 KPK.

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

On April 4, the SC had ordered the government and the ECP to hold elections for the Punjab assembly on May 14 but both institutions said this would not be possible due to shortage of resources, including funds and manpower.

On September 21, the ECP announced that general elections will be held in the last week of January 2024. However, it did not issue a specific date.

The commission also published the preliminary constituency lists.

According to the ECP, objections to the preliminary constituency lists will be entertained until October 26, with hearings on these objections slated to run until November 25.

The final electoral rolls are scheduled for release by November 30, and within 54 days following this publication, the election commission has outlined the election timetable.

Comments

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Parvez Nov 03, 2023 01:19pm
Sadly our SC is by its own doing fast losing the trust of the people. Our CJ needs to act and act fast if this confidence is to be restored.
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Anila Qadri Nov 03, 2023 03:05pm
What a joke? Is that within the 90 days limit. This is part of the plan and now SC is trying to be hero
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Johnny Walker Nov 03, 2023 03:08pm
Qazi et al. Jokers galore.
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