Election suo motu: President can announce poll date, says CJP


ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial said Monday that the parliament has clearly written in the Elections Act, 2017, that the president can announce the date for polls.

After deciding that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa KP and Punjab governors — Haji Ghulam Ali and Baligh Ur Rehman — and the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) were not fulfilling their constitutional duties to announce the date for polls in both provinces, President Arif Alvi announced earlier this month that elections would take place in April — a move that drew strong criticism from the government.

Meanwhile, the CJP’s remarks came during the suo motu hearing related to the elections in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab. The bench, which earlier constituted nine members, now comprises only five members.

The bench was reconstituted after Justice Ijaz Ul Ahsan, Justice Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi, Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Yahya Afridi recused themselves from hearing the case.

The hearing of the case was scheduled to start today at 11am, however, it was delayed reportedly due to the bench formation in the light of a Supreme Court order of the February 23 hearing.

A written order was issued on the SC’s website in which dissenting notes of Justice Afridi, Justice Minallah, Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail and Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah had been included.

Following this, a five-member bench headed by Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial and comprising Justice Munib Akhtar, Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar, Justice Shah and Justice Mandokhail was formed which presided over today’s hearing.

The newly-formed bench — after the counsel of speakers from both provinces, Barrister Ali Zafar concluded his arguments — adjourned the hearing of the case till 9:30am tomorrow.