Emergency federal cabinet meeting summoned by PM Shehbaz Sharif

Emergency federal cabinet meeting summoned by PM Shehbaz Sharif

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif called for an emergency cabinet meeting to discuss the issue of Punjab elections, amidst the coalition government's persistent disregard for the Supreme Court's ruling.

The meeting will be held at 2pm in Lahore, with the premier chairing the meeting and most members participating through a video link. The meeting will cover topics such as the release of funds for the elections, President Arif Alvi's decision to return the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Bill 2023, and the legal disputes surrounding the election.

In a press conference on Saturday, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar expressed doubt about the possibility of holding elections within the next 90 days. He mentioned that the court had ruled that the federal government should release Rs21 billion to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) Punjab chapter.

President Arif Alvi returned the Supreme Court bill, which aimed to restrict the powers of the Chief Justice of Pakistan, for revision under Article 75 of the Constitution. The bill had been approved by both houses of parliament, but the president deemed it beyond the jurisdiction of parliament and susceptible to being challenged in court for being "colorable legislation."

Replying to President’ refusal, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif criticised President Arif Alvi for rejecting the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Bill, 2023, and accused him of being a Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) supporter.

The bill aims to limit the powers of the chief justice, which includes the ability to initiate legal proceedings and form benches. The PTI has expressed opposition to the legislation, calling it an attack on the judiciary.