Election delay case: only SC can postpone polls, remarks CJP


ISLAMABAD, APR 3: The federal government on Monday raised objection over a three-member bench of the Supreme Court hearing an election delay case.

The SC bench has been dissolved twice after Justice Mandukhel and Justice Aminuddin earlier excused themselves from hearing the case.

As per details, a fresh petition filed in the Supreme Court has sought reconstitution of the bench hearing the poll delay case.

In the plea, filed on behalf of the federation, the Supreme Court has been requested to dismiss the election delay case in view of the majority (4-3) order/judgment of March 01.

A three-member bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial and comprising Justice Munib Akhtar and Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan has resumed hearing into the election delay case.

At the outset of the hearing, Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Umar Ata Bandial asked PPP lawyer Farooq H Naek have you ended the boycott of the bench?

The PPP had objections to the formation of the bench and had not boycotted the proceedings, Naek replied to which the CJP asked, then who has boycotted the three-member bench?

The CJP denied hearing the coalition govt lawyers. During the hearing, Kamran Murtaza in his arguments said they have reservations on the bench.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) lawyer Akram Sheikh told the court that they are yet to take back the power of attorney and they have objections to the bench hearing the case. He also clarified they have not boycotted the proceedings yet.

Justice Munib Akhtar in his remarks said on the one side you people are boycotting the hearing and on the other hand, want to be part of the court proceedings.

The question had been raised on how could the ECP give the date of Oct 8 for polls, the CJP remarked. He said only the apex court had the authority to delay elections as happened in 1988 and the Election Commission of Pakistan had no such power to do so.

Govt cannot boycott court proceedings: AGP
Upon being asked by the CJP, the Attorney General of Pakistan, Mansoor Usman Awan said the government cannot boycott the court proceedings.

Government functions as per law and constitution, he added. In his arguments on the PTI’s plea, the AGP said the plea has pleaded with the SC to nullify the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) decision to postpone the election.

The PTI plea states to give the right to announce the election date in KP to the president based on the court’s decision of March 1.

However, governor KP did not give any election date until the filing of the PTI plea, he added.

Coalition govt shows no-trust
On Saturday, the coalition parties expressed their “lack of confidence” in three-member bench of the Supreme Court (SC) of Pakistan hearing a Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) petition against the delay in elections of the Punjab Assembly.

The decision was taken during a high-level meeting of Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) parties, chaired by Prime Minister (PM) Shehbaz Sharif to discuss the “overall political situation of the country”, according to a statement issued by Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).

The coalition parties expressed a lack of confidence in the Supreme Court bench — comprising Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Muneeb Akhtar.

Security arrangements
Strict security measures have been taken by the Islamabad administration, and police and Rangers personnel have been deployed to maintain law and order during the high-profile case hearing.

Unrelated people including political leaders and lawyers have been barred from entering Red Zone over security concerns.

The lawyers and police officials also exchanged hot words over denial to entry in the SC.