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Monday, April 15, 2024  
06 Shawwal 1445  

Supreme Court orders ECP to give final election date

The court also ordered the Attorney General to arrange the meeting of the Election Commission with the President.
File photo.
File photo.

The Supreme Court of Pakistan has ordered to give the date of the general elections and said that the court should be informed about the date of the elections tomorrow in the next hearing.

During the hearing of the case of holding elections in 90 days, the Chief Justice said that the date given must be followed and there will be no hearing afterward.

The court also ordered the Attorney General to arrange the meeting of the Election Commission with the President.

Earlier in the hearing, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) informed the Supreme Court that general elections in Pakistan will be held on 11 February of next year.

Later, the court told the commission that once decided, the election date would be ‘set in stone’ and the court would ensure it is implemented.

A three-member bench of the Supreme Court resumed hearing petitions calling for elections within 90 days on Thursday.

However, after a lengthy debate over the right of the president to give the election date, ECP’s lawyer told the court that elections were scheduled for February 11.

The lawyer added that the rules permitted polls 54 days after delimitations were announced. He added that the delimitations would be completed on December 5.

The Supreme Court ordered the ECP to consult with President Arif Alvi on the matter. However, the ECP lawyer said that the Commission was not bound to do so.

Justice Isa expressed displeasure at the ECP lawyer’s comments and ordered that the president should be consulted by 2:15 pm when the hearing resumed.

The CJP also remarked that the election date, once submitted, would be set in stone and the court would ensure it is implemented.

Led by Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa, the bench includes Justice Aminuddin Khan and Justice Athar Minallah.

Multiple petitions filed for elections within 90 days are being heard together. The petitioners include the Supreme Court Bar Association as well as the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf.

The case was last heard on October 23, where the bench had issued notices to the government and the Election Commission of Pakistan.

The Order

Write before the order was announced, the chief justice said that the court simply wanted elections and did not want to get into any other debate. He added that no petitiones would be heard after the election date was fixed.

The court order said that delimitations would be completed on December 5 after which the election schedule would be announced.

The order added that after all matters are in the schedule are wrapped up by January 30. It noted that the ECP wants election to be on a Sunday, and even though the first Sunday falls on February 4, the Commission wants elections on February 11.

The court ordered that the ECP should meet President Arif Alvi and fix the election date today (Thursday). Whatever is agreed should be submitted with signatures to the court on Friday, the order said.

The court also ordered that signed copies of the decision should be given to the ECP, the attorney general and the president.

The hearing

The hearing began with Ali Zafar presenting his arguments on behalf of the PTI. He told the court that his arguments would be based on a singular point.

Zafar said that the matter of elections within 90 days has become ineffective so the PTI only wishes for elections to be announced now.

Justice Isa asked the counsel if the president could only announce election date after a consultation with the prime minister, to which Zafar replied in the negative.

Zafar argued that President Arif Alvi had already announced the election date in his letter to the ECP. He also read out the president’s letter out loud in court.

Justice Athar Minallah asked Zafar why it had taken the president so long to write the letter to which Justice Isa also chipped in by asking if the President was asking the court for an opinion.

The chief justice also noted that the president had written the letter right towards the end and the court could take judicial notice of the matter.

Justice Athar Minallah also remarked during the hearing that whoever was preventing elections had suspended the constitution.

Ali Zafar said that his party wanted elections and he would be satisfied even if the ECP itself gave a date.

The lawyer added that the SC could issue orders if the constitution was not being followed.

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Supreme Court

general elections

Election commission of Pakistan

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