Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Monday issued notices to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for dragging its feet on elections in Punjab, Geo News reported.
The apex court sought guarantees from the government and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) to bury the hatchet for free, fair, and transparent elections. These developments took place during the hearing of the plea regarding the date for general elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. A five-member bench, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial, heard the plea, as per the Geo News report. During the hearing, the court also issued notices to governors of two provinces through the chief secretary.
Pakistan’s Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial said, “The court only needs assurance from both sides. The elections should be peaceful, transparent, and fair. If the government and PTI want elections, they have to give assurances.” He further said that the parties will decide what those assurances would be like and not the court.
Umar Ata Bandial said that the parties should evaluate what is good for the people and what is not. He said, “Pakistan’s Constitution was not made for only setting up or toppling the governments,” as per the news report.
He stressed that the constitution was interpreted while keeping the life and happiness of people in mind. He called the current situation “alarming” and emphasised that the polls will be conducted when the “conditions are favourable,” as per the news report.
Pakistan’s chief justice noted that the country’s atmosphere had become poisonous due to political intolerance, according to Geo News report. He called the present political situation “terrible” and added, “Politicians are at each other’s throats.” He called on both government and former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan-led government to decide what is best for the people of Pakistan.
In his remarks regarding the Election Commission of Pakistan, Umar Ata Bandial said that it was merely an institution. He further said, “The election commission requires facilitation and support for [conducting] polls.”
Last week, the ECP announced postponing the election in Punjab until October 8. After ECP’s announcement, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Saturday approached the Supreme Court of Pakistan (SC) against the electoral body’s decision to delay the elections in Punjab, The Express Tribune reported.
Pakistan’s electoral watchdog said the polls could not be held in Punjab on the scheduled date under the circumstances conveyed to it by the law enforcement agencies, finance, defence and interior ministries, Punjab chief secretary and others, who all opposed the elections on various grounds, The Express Tribune reported.
Furthermore, the ECP withdrew its notification regarding the polls in Punjab and postponed the voting for the provincial assembly until October 8. It further said that the fresh election schedule will be announced in due course