New developments reported in SC over Punjab and KP elections case

New developments reported in SC over Punjab and KP elections case

During the hearing of the PTI petition, the apex court has been told that the Election Commission of Pakistan has the authority to alter the election date.

The ECP lawyer told the Supreme Court that the commission has the authority to extend the poll date under the election programme.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday resumed hearing PTI petition challenging the Election Commission of Pakistan’s decision to postpone elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa a day after the National Assembly passed a resolution asking the apex court to “refrain from interfering in political and administrative affairs” and called for the formation of a full SC bench to hear constitutional matters.

The resolution moved by Minister for Information Marriyum Aurangzeb stated that the ECP is a constitutional body and any trespassing in its domain should be avoided and let the commission hold polling in a conducive environment as per its prerogative.

It said that the House considers undue interference by the judiciary in political matters as a cause of political instability in the country. The House validates the four judges' decision in the suo-moto case and calls for its implementation. It expects that the higher judiciary will refrain from interfering in political and administrative matters.

Earlier, the ‘Supreme Court (Practice and Protection) Bill, 2023’ was introduced in the House. The bill later was referred to the NA Standing Committee which has been approved today.

A larger five-judge SC bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial and comprising Justice Ijaz-ul-Ahsan, Justice Munib Akhtar, Justice Aminuddin Khan and Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail is hearing the petition.

During yesterday’s hearing, Chief Justice Bandial remarked that the ECP did not have any right or legal backing to extend the election date till Oct 8 and asked the Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) to get instructions from the federal government in this regard.

The apex court is likely to conclude the hearing today and come up with a final judgement.

Today’s hearing

At the outset of the hearing today, lawyer Farooq H Naek requested the court to form a full court bench. He further said that first of all, it should be decided whether the SC decision was 3-4 or 2-3.

On this, Chief Justice Bandial told him off saying ‘don’t disturb the court’s atmosphere’. He asked Naek to submit his written request to the court.

Naek also requested the court to name his party respondent in the case.

On this, CJP Bandial asked him which party he wanted to represent –PDM or PPP.

Naek said that the PPP was not a part of the PDM.