The Supreme Court has directed the Election Commission of Pakistan to consult with President Arif Alvi and give the final date for elections by today.
The Supreme Court on Thursday resumed the hearing of case regarding elections within 90-days.
A three-judge bench comprising Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa, Justice Amin-ud-Din Khan and Justice Athar Minallah heard pleas moved by the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA), the PTI, Munir Ahmad and Ibad-ur-Rehman.
At the beginning of the hearing, the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) submitted a request to be included as a respondent in the case through Farooq H. Naek, which was subsequently accepted by the court.
Barrister Ali Zafar, the lawyer representing the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), argued that according to the Pakistani constitution, elections should be conducted within 90 days following the dissolution of the assemblies.
CJP Qazi Faez Isa commented that the petition had become ineffective, to which Barrister Ali Zafar emphasized that they were addressing fundamental human rights.
CJP then clarified whether the PTI was solely seeking the election date. Barrister Ali Zafar confirmed this and mentioned that elections should be held on November 7 after the assemblies’ dissolution.
The Ministry of Law and Justice argued that the president could not announce the election date after the enactment of the Election Amendment Act.
When asked by CJP Isa, PTI’s lawyer explained that President Arif Alvi had requested the Election Commission’s opinion on the election date via a letter.
The chief justice inquired if the president had sought the Supreme Court’s opinion on the matter, to which Ali Zafar responded in the negative.
He questioned whether they could issue a notice to the president if he didn’t provide an election date.
Justice Minallah then raised the point that it appeared that the Election Commission of Pakistan, the government, and the president were potentially responsible for delaying the elections.
However, in a surprising turn of arguments the ECP informed the Supreme Court that the general elections in the country will be held on February 11, 2024.
“Elections in the country will be held in the country [after] completion of delimitation on November 30,” ECP’s lawyer Sajeel Swati told the three-member bench.
Despite having a date from the ECP, the Supreme Court issued an order directing the Election Commission to determine the final election date after consultations with the President.
CJP remarked that the decision to hold polls has to be taken by the Constitutional bodies.
Further remarked that in civilized societies the decisions are made through discussion.
The ordered issued by CJP Qazi Faez Isa after todays crucial hearing stated that the ECP must go to the President Alvi, even if ECP is not invited for consultation.
Adds that if president needs consultation, than attorney general is ready for the help.
The court strictly directed that there must be no representative or lawyer of any political party with the President at the time of consultation.
The Supreme Court warned of serious consequences against president and the ECP, if both failed to decide the election date.
The court maintained that no further delay in the case will be entertained.
According to the election commissioner, the constituency process will be completed on November 30 and the results of the constituencies will be published on December 5.
The Supreme Court awaits the final date of polls from the ECP and president by tomorrow.
The court order stated that whatever is agreed upon between the President and ECP, the court shall be informed in writing.
Added that the decision writing must be signed by both the President Alvi and the Election Commission of Pakistan.