PHC reserves decision on PTI plea for polls under judicial supervision

PHC reserves decision on PTI plea for polls under judicial supervision

PHC reserves decision on PTI plea for polls under judicial supervision

PHC reserves decision on PTI plea for polls under judicial supervision

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PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court (PHC) has deferred its decision on the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) request for the upcoming general elections to be conducted under judicial supervision. The two-member PHC bench, led by Chief Justice Mohammad Ibrahim Khan and Justice Shakeel Ahmed, presided over the proceedings.

The PTI, represented by Advocate Muazzam Butt, filed the plea, challenging the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) notification for the appointment of returning officers (ROs) and district returning officers (DROs). During the hearing, Butt argued that polling staff should be assigned two months prior to elections, questioning the transparency of polls if timely arrangements are not made by the ECP.

Responding to the PTI’s plea against the ECP’s notification, Chief Justice Ibrahim noted the court’s obligation to uphold the Supreme Court’s decision from December 15. The Supreme Court had suspended the Lahore High Court’s ruling, similar to a petition filed by the PTI, against the ECP’s decision to appoint ROs and DROs from the bureaucracy.

In a recent development, a three-member Supreme Court bench, led by Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa, directed the ECP to issue the election schedule promptly. The ECP complied, issuing the election schedule on the same day, eliminating the possibility of a delay in the polls.

During today’s proceedings, Advocate Butt emphasized that the ECP has been directed to consult with the chief justice if concerns arise about poll transparency. Justice Shakeel questioned the specific circumstances under which the ECP is obligated to consult the chief justice.

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The ECP’s counsel defended the appointment of ROs and DROs, asserting that it falls within the electoral body’s mandate, as directed by the Supreme Court’s December 15 verdict. The discussion also touched upon mass arrests in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, with Justice Ibrahim expressing concern about the number of MPO-3 orders and the focus on arresting members of a particular political party.

After hearing arguments from both sides, the court reserved its verdict, with the date for the announcement yet to be disclosed.

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