The Supreme Court on Monday suspended till further notice an Islamabad High Court (IHC) ruling in which the latter had revoked a ban placed by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on new recruitment in government departments and work on new development projects ahead of the upcoming general elections.
The apex court ordered that the ban remain intact till it decides the case.
ECP had on April 11 barred the federal and provincial governments from hiring in all institutions; working on development plans approved on April 1 or after; and transferring funds for ongoing projects.
The ECP had stated that its decision was aimed at discouraging ‘pre-poll rigging’ through the use of government resources as incentives.
The provincial governments had subsequently brought the matter to the notice of the Supreme Court, which had referred it to the IHC.
The apex court had on April 24 asked the IHC to rule on the matter within a week’s time.
An IHC bench comprising Justices Aamer Farooq and Mohsin Akhtar Kayani had subsequently heard a counsel for the provincial governments, who had argued that the ECP had usurped the powers of the governments in ordering the ban two months ahead of the expiry of the assemblies’ constitutional term.
The provinces had argued that the ECP had interfered in the domain of the executive and that its decision had caused inconvenience to the public at large.
According to their counsel, the ECP could only issue such directives after issuing the election schedule. The ECP, on its part, had defended the ban on recruitment and development activities, saying that it had been done to ensure a fair and transparent election.