On Monday, the Supreme Court of Pakistan completed the hearing of a case related to the postponement of elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces.
The court reserved its decision, which is expected to be announced today. The decision will either hasten the elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa or lead to simultaneous elections in all provinces.
The decision is highly anticipated, and many hope it will be acceptable to all parties involved. The case, filed by the ruling party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), has undergone six hearings before the Supreme Court.
The case related to the postponement of elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) was heard in the Supreme Court over six hearings. The first three hearings were conducted by a five-member bench, followed by Justice Aminuddin excusing himself from the case during the fourth hearing and Justice Jamal Mandukhel during the fifth hearing.
Eventually, Chief Justice of Pakistan, Justice Ijaz-ul-Ahsan, and Justice Muneeb Akhtar heard the case on March 31 and April 3, respectively, in a new bench. Yesterday, the Supreme Court reserved the verdict on the case, with all eyes now on whether the elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will be hastened, if all assemblies will hold simultaneous elections, or if the political divide will continue to widen.
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During the previous hearing, Chief Justice Umar Atta Bandial expressed the court’s stance that there is still ample time for all parties involved to come together and resolve the issues through political dialogue for the greater good of the Pakistani nation.
The Chief Justice added that the levelling of allegations and pursuit of political interests should be avoided to prevent any unnecessary complications. The court’s message is one of encouragement towards a peaceful and constructive resolution.
According to the news report, Chief Justice Umar Atta Bandial expressed his views during the last hearing. He highlighted that there had been allegations of self-selection of judges for the case, which is unacceptable.
The Chief Justice also stressed the need for patience, tolerance, and the importance of respecting parliament and the government. He appreciated the idea of simultaneous elections but mentioned that two assemblies had already been dissolved in this case.
The federal government needs to provide assurance and take responsibility for the lack of political dialogue in the country. Moreover, the court will also consider the reasons the Ministry of Defense and Finance presented.
The Attorney General highlighted that a significant amount of the development budget has already been utilised, to which the Chief Justice requested an explanation without causing inconvenience to the public.
He also emphasised that the Constitution clearly outlines when the elections are scheduled, and despite offering the option of negotiation, there was yet to be a response from the parties involved.
After hearing arguments from the Attorney General, PTI, the lawyers of the Election Commission, and the Secretaries of Defense and Finance, the court has reserved its decision.
The verdict will be announced today, and it remains to be seen whether the elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will be hastened or if all assemblies will go to the polls simultaneously.