As the Supreme Court heard the PTI’s appeal against postponing the general elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Monday, it delayed the case’s hearing to Tuesday. It sent notifications to the ECP and the federal government asking for their responses.
The governors of Punjab and KP were also asked to respond by Tuesday at 11:00 a.m.
Chief Judge Umar Ata Bandial questioned if the ECP could change the president-given election date during the hearings. He observed that they could not escape reality. Only favorable conditions, he claimed, would allow for the elections to take place. The chief justice said that the Constitution and the law were created to safeguard the populace. According to the CJP, the situation in the nation is exceedingly dire, and everyone appears to be at odds with one another.
He emphasized that the election must be impartial, calm, and open. The chief judge mentioned that after the murder of the previous prime minister Benazir Bhutto, elections were delayed for 40 days.
Since Pakistan’s new attorney general had not yet been chosen, the additional attorney general asked the court to adjourn the hearing for two to three days.
The Supreme Court’s five-member bigger bench started hearing PTI’s argument against postponing the general elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Justice Ijazul Ahsan, Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail, Justice Muneeb Akhtar Sheikh, and Justice Ameenuddin Khan make up the bigger bench of the supreme court presided over by Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial. The PTI attorneys received notices from the court before the hearing.
The ECP unexpectedly postponed elections for over five months on March 22 due to the country’s deteriorating security situation and a lack of security personnel. On behalf of the PTI, attorney Syed Ali Zafar filed a plea asking the ECP to hold the polls on April 30.
The petition was initiated by former Punjab Assembly speakers Mohammad Sibtain Khan, Mushtaq Ahmad Ghani, Abdul Rehman, Mian Mahmoodur Rashid, and PTI Secretary General Asad Umar, who argued that the ECP’s decision violated the Constitution and amounted to its amendment and subversion.
According to the petition, the Supreme Court’s rulings must be obeyed and carried out by the ECP, which lacks the authority to do so.
On March 1, the supreme court mandated that the Punjab Assembly elections occur within 90 days and that the president declare the date. Additionally, it instructed the government to support the ECP financially and with security personnel for the polls.
According to the petition, the ECP “cannot act in violation of the Supreme Court’s directions as it has done in this instance, which is unconstitutional and liable to be set aside. The ECP extended the constitutionally required 90-day delay for the elections by more than 183 days by announcing October 8 as the date. According to the petition, if the pretext of a lack of security personnel were accepted this time, it would create a precedent for postponing future elections.
The petition also stated that there was no guarantee that the security situation, funding constraints, or lack of security personnel would improve by October 8.