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HomePakistanPM consults AGP, others over legal battle for Punjab, KPK polls

PM consults AGP, others over legal battle for Punjab, KPK polls

  • The sources say that a delegation of the ruling coalition is likely to appear before the apex court to make request to become party in the case.

Islamabad:  Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif summoned Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) Mansoor Usman Awan to consult him in the legal matters including the legal battle for the general elections, the sources claimed on Wednesday.

The AGP who was at the Supreme Court left for the prime minister office.

According to the sources, the legal team recommended Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif for representation of the government before the top court in the general elections case.

“A high level delegation is likely to appear before the supreme court,” said the sources, adding that the coalition partners wanted to become party in the election case.

“The leaders from PML-N-PPP and JUI-F will appear before the Supreme Court to make plea to become party in the case,” they added.

The consultation took place at the moment when the top court is seized with the hearing of the petitions moved by PTI and others for general elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakthunkhwa.

On Tuesday, the top court heard the case, Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial made an observation in response to a dissenting note from Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah and Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail regarding the March 1 verdict on Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa polls.

“The note was simply the judges’ opinion and was not linked to the present case,” remarked the CJP as the five-member bench resumed hearing of the petitions challenging ECP’s decision on Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa elections on Tuesday.

CJP Bandial is the head of the five-member larger bench that is hearing the plea, which includes Justice Ijaz Ul Ahsan, Justice Munib Akhtar, Justice Amin-Ud-Din Khan, and Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail. The PTI had challenged the ECP’s decision to postpone the Punjab polls until October 8 due to financial and security concerns.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Haji Ghulam Ali also urged the electoral body to hold general elections on the same date as the Punjab polls due to the growing security threats from terror groups operating from the Pakistan-Afghanistan border regions.

During a hearing, Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial welcomed newly appointed Attorney General for Pakistan Mansoor Usman Awan and acknowledged the importance of senior lawyer Farooq H Naek’s assistance in the matter.

The CJP emphasized that the court did not want to prolong the case and would examine the jurisdiction of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) as per the previous day’s order. The ruling coalition parties’ request to join the case would be considered later.

The CJP stressed the importance of mutual tolerance, patience, and the rule of law in democracy. However, Naek argued that they were also stakeholders in the case. The CJP assured him of his importance but emphasized the need to avoid legal controversy.

The CJP noted that the parties had to decide the direction of the circumstances, while the court had to consider the facts. He said that the law empowered the president to give an election date and urged clarification on the March 1 decision through a separate petition.

 The CJP considered the central question to be whether the ECP had the power to change the election date.

The attorney general argued that if the court decision was 4-3, then there was no order, and the president could not give an election date without a court order. The AGP emphasized that the March 1 decision should be decided first.

When the AGP contended that there was no order as the court’s decision was 4-3, CJP Bandial remarked that the case was not about giving an election date but the delay. He emphasized that elections were necessary for a democracy and that the two judges’ opinions did not relate to the current case. He also stated that the bench’s jurisdiction was not limited to the petition.

When the AGP appealed for the formation of a full court on the matter, Justice Mandokhail asked if the Constitution required elections to be conducted within 90 days and whether the ECP could postpone the date of the election. CJP Bandial thanked the judge for clearing the matter. Meanwhile, PTI’s lawyer Ali Zafar maintained that every institution had to work within its constitutional bounds. CJP Bandial advised the parties to avoid differences and reminded them of the country’s ongoing issues of violence, intolerance, and economic crisis.

The Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP), Umar Ata Bandial, has said that the government should take the initiative to resolve the election date issue. Speaking at a hearing in the Supreme Court, the CJP said that the court would issue orders only if the government takes the initiative.

Justice Mushir Alam asked whether the 90-day period before the election could be shortened. Justice Umar Ata Bandial said that Section 58 of the Election Act does not allow the deferment of polls. However, no one is sure whether the elections can be held within 90 days.

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party’s lawyer argued that the prime minister and chief minister are the elected representatives, while Justice Mandokhail suggested that Parliament should review the authority of a single person to dissolve the assembly. Elections must be held under any circumstances, said Justice Mandokhail. Barrister Ali Zafar contended that the assembly couldn’t be dissolved even in the event of a no-confidence motion.

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