ISLAMABAD – Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial remarked Thursday that negative forces got space to play tricks on the country when elections are delayed.
He made the remarks while hearing of the review petition filed by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) against the top court's April 4 ruling to conduct elections in Punjab on May 14.
In its petition, the top election body contended that it was not the made of the apex court to give date for elections.
As ECP lawyer Sajeel Swati started submitting arguments during today’s hearing, the CJP got irritated and asked him to come to the main point instead brushing aside the case.
The ECP counsel argued that top court’s rules could not curtail constitutional powers. Noting his point, Justice Ahsan directed him to proceed.
The full court has ruled in several cases that the scope of the review was not limited,” Swati said. At this, Justice Akhtar reiterated the Supreme Court Rules will become null and void if the ECP lawyer’s arguments are accepted.
At one point, Justice Ahsan inquired: “If a provincial assembly is dissolved in six months, will the caretaker government will serve for remaining four and a half years? Will we wait for the dissolution of the National Assembly for that period?”
Swati replied that the caretaker government would continue to serve in the respective province for 4 and a half years. He argued Article 254 extended support to a delay of 90 days in holding of elections.
Making intervention, the CJP replied that redresal could be election of a new government for 4 and a half years. “How is it possible that the elected government remain for 6 months while a caretaker setup stays in power for 4 and a half years?” he inquired.
At one point, the chief justice remarked that the ECP was talking about politics, an allegation that was rejected by Swati, stating that the electoral watchdog was an independent institution and it was not involved in talking about politics.
Justice Akhtar remarked that the ECP had earlier presented unavailability of funds and security as reasons for its inability to conduct elections in Punjab. He added that now the ECP was running away from its responsibilities.
The chief justice said the Commission should not accept the excuse of the Ministry of Finance regarding provision of funds. He said how long will the democracy in the country be sacrificed by delaying the elections. The CJP remarked that negative forces swung into action when polls are delayed.
Later, the hearing was adjourned till May 29.
Pakistani currency remains stable against US dollar and other currencies in the open market on February 21, 2024 (Wednesday).
In the open market, the US dollar was being quoted at 279.6 for buying and 282.4 for selling.
Euro comes down to 300 for buying and 303 for selling while British Pound rate stands at 350.5 for buying, and 354 for selling.
UAE Dirham AED hovers at 76.15 whereas the Saudi Riyal saw slight increase, with new rates at 74.35.
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