A three-member bench of the Supreme Court ordered the federal and provincial governments to ensure elections on February 8 in the upcoming year without any hurdles.
The bench was led by Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa and included Justice Aminuddin Khan and Justice Athar Minallah. The petitions requesting elections within 90 days were disposed of after the SC order.
ECP issued a notification fixing the election date on February 8. The notification was also submitted to the court.
The order said that the matter of the election date had been resolved with the agreement of all parties involved.
The court said that there had been a deadlock between the ECP and the president over the matter of the election date and the court had merely facilitated them to resolve the matter.
The consensus on February 8 came after the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and President Arif Alvi mutually agreed in a meeting after SC hearing on Thursday.
The order also said that the court should not ideally step into the role of any other institution. However, an uncertain situation had been created with regards to elections in the country and there was a fear that elections might not take place.
The chief justice also said that anyone spreading pessimism over elections would do an unconstitutional act and would be dealt with.
However, the hearing had to be paused twice soon after it began. The first pause came as ECP officials failed to arrive with the minutes of Thursday’s meeting.
The hearing resumed and paused again when the attorney general said that the president had issued a press release but had not signed a document regarding the election date.
In Thursday’s hearing, the ECP had told the bench that it was eyeing February 11 as the date for polls.
However, despite the ECP counsel’s insistence that the Commission was not bound to consult the president, the bench ordered that the consensus on the date should be reached by Friday’s hearing.
The chief justice had remarked that once set, the election date would not be changed and that the court would ensure its implementation.
Late on Thursday evening, the chief election commissioner had called on President Arif Alvi along with the attorney general. The meeting reached a consenus that elections should be held on February 8.
The date was officially announced by the ECP in a press release as well.
The bench is expected to be apprised of the development on Friday.