SC questions ECP decision to delay polls

The Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial said the law gives no one the authority to delay elections. Only the court can delay the date for polls.


The Supreme Court of Pakistan has questioned the decision of the Election Commission of Pakistan to delay the Punjab and KP by-polls to October 8th.

A hearing is underway at the Supreme Court over PTI’s petition against the Election Commission of Pakistan’s decision to postpone elections. The case is being heard by a three-member bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial and comprising Justice Munib Akhtar and Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan.

During the hearing, the Attorney General of Pakistan Awan stated that the PTI petition was based on the apex court’s March 1 verdict, wherein the court instructed the president to select a date for elections in Punjab and the governor to pick a date for polls in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P). He added that the K-P governor did not select a date until the PTI petition was filed.

Read more: CJP offers to fund elections from judges’ salaries

At this, the Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial questioned ECP’s decision to postpone the polls and said the law gives no one the authority to do so.

“The question is how can the ECP give the date of Oct 8 for polls,” the CJP said here. “The law gives no one the authority to delay elections. Only the court can delay the date for polls.

“Even in 1988, elections were postponed on the orders of the court,” he recalled, adding that court orders were issued on the basis of “ground realities”.

“The order you are mentioning here [SC’s March 1 verdict] has already been executed,” Justice Bandial pointed out.

Furthermore, Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan also observed that the existent matter under consideration for the hearing was the ECP’s decision to postpone elections, as the commission was bound to follow court orders.

Read more: Nation demands right to vote from CJP after election postponement

After the Supreme Court’s decision, how did the Election Commission advance the date, Justice Ijazul Hasan also remarked.

Currently, Pakistan is facing intense political turmoil over the postponement of Punjab and KP by polls as the PDM led government and its rival PTI continue to lock horns over the matter, triggering an intense legal proceeding at the Supreme Court.

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