Elections can be deferred only under extreme circumstances, rules SC


ISLAMABAD – The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Thursday heard the suo moto case on the delay in elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and issued notices to the Attorney General, the Election Commission of Pakistan, Governors, President, and major political parties.

A larger bench, spearheaded by Chief Justice Bandial and also comprising Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan, Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah, Justice Munib Akhtar, Justice Yahya Afridi, Justice Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi, Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail, Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar and Justice Athar Minallah, heard the case.

During the hearing, the country’s top judge remarked that proceedings will begin in the upcoming week, stressing the fastening of court proceedings. CJP hinted at no violation of the constitution and added that polls can be delayed under extreme circumstances.

At the outset, AGP urged the court to delay proceedings as short notice was not enough to prepare a case. The court remarked that proceedings on Friday will be limited.

Justice Athar Minallah said it should be no noted if assemblies were dissolved as per the law. Other members of the bench expressed reservations on suo moto notice being taken on the issue that remained a bone of contention between ruling alliance and the opposition.

The apex court ruled that all the political parties of the country should be made parties in the case, terming them key member of the political system.

PBC objects to exclusion of Justice Faez Isa, Justice Sardar Tariq from bench

On Thursday, Pakistan Bar Council raised objection for not adding Justice Qazi Faez Isa and Justice Sardar Tariq to the nine-member bench hearing the case. In a statement, it related the inclusion of two judges with a more impartial and neutral image of the bench.

PBC further urged Justice Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi, who is facing a reference, to separate from the bench voluntarily.

Last week, a division bench of the top court referred the matter to the country’s top judge for invoking suo motu jurisdiction, pointing out the imminent danger of violation of the Constitution.

The court then took notice in the election delay, and mentioned three points to focus during proceedings.

  • It will assess who is eligible to issue the date for polls,
  • It will decide on the constitutional responsibility of the federation and provinces,
  • It will determine who will fulfil the constitutional responsibility of conducting elections and when.