ISLAMABAD: On Wednesday, the Supreme Court (SC) ruled that elections must be held in Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) within the next ninety days, citing the chief justice’s statement that “democracy cannot exist without assemblies.”
According to the court’s decision, Punjab would be subject to President Arif Alvi’s directives, while K-P will not.
The governor “will publicise the election date if the governor dissolved the assembly,” the court ruled.
At the same time, the SC decided that the president and the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) should announce the results of the elections in Punjab following consultation.
The majority’s conclusion was overruled by Justices Mansoor Ali Shah and Jamal Khan Mandokhail, resulting in a 3-2 split in the court’s ruling. Judge Munib Akhtar, Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar, and Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial all supported the choice.
The suo motu was unmaintainable, according to the opposing commentary.
Tuesday marked the conclusion of the two days of deliberations in the suo motu case by the panel presided over by Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial. The bench concluded the hearing by reserving the decision and stating that it would be made public before Wednesday at 11 a.m. (today).
At the hearing on Tuesday, the chief justice stated that they were there to defend the Constitution, not a particular party. We cannot ignore the Constitution, and we cannot supersede the Constitution, he retorted.
The suo motu proceedings, in the facts and circumstances of the case, are wholly unjustified in the mode and manner they were taken up under Article 184(3) of the constitution, in addition to being initiated with undue haste, Justice Shah and Justice Mandokhail wrote in their dissenting note on Wednesday.
The two justices said that the case wasn’t appropriate for hearing because the identical relief was also being sought in Peshawar and Lahore’s provincial high courts.
Also, they agreed with the rulings made by Justice Yahya Afridi and Athar Minallah and said that “such such concerns should best be settled by the parliament.”
When the Punjab and K-P provinces were dissolved earlier this year, the chief justice initially convened a nine-member bench to hear the suo motu notice regarding the delay in announcing provincial elections in both provinces.
Justices Ijazul Ahsan and Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi withdrew from the hearing on Monday at the start due to concerns about their eligibility to sit on the bench.