ISLAMABAD – The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Tuesday turned down a petition filed by the ruling PTI seeking suspension of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) order for re-election in the NA-75 Das constituency.
A three member bench headed by the Justice Umar Ata Bandial and comprising Justice Mazhar Ali Naqvi and Justice Qazi Muhammad Ameen heard the petition filed by the candidate of the PTI.
Justice Bandial remarked that the top court while continue to hear the case but re-election in the constituency will be held at all costs.
He remarked that the apex court respected the election body, adding that bench is yet to decided whether the election should be held in the whole constituency or the 20 polling stations where presiding officers had went missing.
PTI lawyer told the court that the ECP ordered re-election on the basis of violence in the constituency on February 19 when two political workers had been killed due to firing incidents.
He also informed the court that results of 14 constituency were missing when the PTI’s candidate received the results.
To which Justice Qazi Muhammad Ameen remarked that the administration was responsible to ensure law and order in the constituency.
The PTI lawyer said that the DRO had not held the civil administration responsible in its report, contending that the ECP had ordered the re-election in the whole constituency despite the report.
At this, Justice Bandial intervened and remarked that the violence marred the constituency due to lack of police force.
The PTI lawyer went on to say that the ECP could not have ordered re-election through a short order, as only superior courts have authority to issue short orders.
Justice Ameen agreed with the argument and observed that since the chief election commissioner was not a judge, he could not issue a short order.
However, Justice Mazhar Ali Naqvi remarked that issuing short orders by the courts is just a practice, not the law.
The ECP lawyer informed the bench that the date for the re-election has been rescheduled as the interior ministry had warned that the situation is still tense in Daska’s NA-75 constitency.
During the hearing, Justice Bandial remarked that it was a mistake to not deploy army for the election in the constituency.
After hearing the arguments, the court adjourned the hearing till March 19 and ordered the ECP secretary to submit a report about election expenses. The bench observed that the top court can take action as an executive or a judicial forum.