Over delay in Punjab, KP Elections-CJP takes suo motu notice

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ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial Wednesday night took a suo motu notice of an apparent delay in the elections of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and also formed a larger bench to hear the case.

The development comes two days after President Dr Arif Alvi fixed April 9 as the date for elections to the provincial assemblies of Punjab and KP — the move condemned by the government as “unconstitutional and illegal”.amid the situation, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) sought guidance from the attorney general of Pakistan (AGP) and other legal experts — but no official announcement has been made so far.

The nine-member bench includes:

  • Justice Umar Ata Bandial
  • Justice Ijaz Ul Ahsan
  • Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah
  • Justice Munib Akhtar
  • Justice Yahya Afridi
  • Justice Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi
  • Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail
  • Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar
  • Justice Athar Minallah

The bench will hear the case tomorrow (Thursday) at 2pm. The matter was sent to the chief justice seeking the suo motu by a two-member Supreme Court bench comprising Justice Ijaz Ul Ahsan and Justice Mazahir Ali Akbar Naqvi in the Lahore Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Ghulam Mehmood Dogar case on February 16.

According to the apex court’s statement, the bench will assess who is eligible to issue the date for polls, the constitutional responsibility of the federation and provinces, and who will fulfil the constitutional responsibility of conducting elections and when.

The Supreme Court added that the two provincial assemblies were dissolved on January 14 and 18, respectively. “Under Article 224 (2), polls should be held within 90 days of the assembly dissolution. The Constitution mandates that polls be held within 90 days.”

The country’s top court also said that requests for the date of elections were also received from the Islamabad High Court bar, and speakers of KP and Punjab assemblies.

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