A bench led by CJP Isa will hear election petitions on Oct 23

6 min read

A bench led by CJP Isa will hear election petitions on Oct 23. Pakistan’s Supreme Court Friday scheduled the hearing of petitions seeking to hold general elections within 90 days for October 23.

The appeals will be heard by a three-member bench, headed by Chief Justice Qazi Faiz Isa and comprised of Justice Athar Minullah and Justice Aminuddin Khan.

To ensure that polls are held in the country on time, the Supreme Court Bar Association and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) have filed petitions.

The PTI welcomes the SC’s decision to hear the appeals

As a result of the apex court’s decision to form a bench to hear petitions for timely polls, the PTI has welcomed the decision.

A spokesperson for the party said in a statement issued by its central media department, “The series of serious deviations from the constitution and gross violations of citizens’ fundamental rights are negatively impacting the relationship between state and citizens.”

In all respects, the PTI maintained that the Constitution establishes the relationship between the sovereign, the state, and its citizens, as well as ensuring the country’s survival, security, and development.

On April 4, 2023, the Supreme Court ruled in its decision that elections must be held within 90 days in response to a request from former Punjab assembly speaker.

In light of the fragility of time, the party hopes the SC’s three-member bench, headed by the chief justice, will conclude the hearing swiftly and ensure that the Constitution’s 90-day election deadline is respected.

On Thursday, CJP Isa indicated that the apex court might consider the pleas calling for timely elections and challenging the decision to try civilians in military courts.

There was an exchange of remarks between the top judge and the lawyers for the petitioners concerning the adjournment of the hearing in a case involving the employees of Pak Arab Refinery, when the lawyers for the petitioners asked the top judge to delay the hearing for 15 days.

“Cases demanding timely general elections and civilian trials in military courts will be resolved in the near future. There will be difficult cases coming up in the Supreme Court during this period, which will make scheduling other cases difficult,” the chief justice said.

Polls delayed

On August 9, Shehbaz Sharif’s government dissolved the National Assembly, and the Sindh and Balochistan assemblies were also dissolved prematurely in order to allow the elections authority to hold local elections within 90 days of the National Assembly’s dissolution.

The electoral body was constitutionally bound to hold polls within 60 days of dissolving the assemblies.

In spite of this, the ECP decided not to hold polls within the stipulated time since the Council of Common Interest (CCI), days before dissolution of the assemblies, approved the 7th Population and Housing Census 2023.

In light of the results of the census and with the approval of the CCI, the commission had to hold elections following fresh delimitations as a result of the census results.

In the following days, the ECP announced the schedule of new delimitations that would be carried out based on the new census approved by the CCI on August 17.

On the other hand, in September, the commission announced that the country’s general elections would be held during the last week of January 2024.

A number of petitions against the delay of the polls were filed in the Supreme Court before the announcement was made, however.

As part of the petition, the Supreme Court Bar Association, Jamaat-e-Islami, and the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) have joined forces. In their petitions to the Supreme Court, all three petitioners have asked for a 90-day deadline for the polls to be held at the earliest.

It should be noted that these petitions were filed during the tenure of former chief justice Umar Ata Bandial, but no hearing date for them was set.

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