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Pakistan's CJ Bandial Warns Delaying Election In Punjab Will Make 'negative Forces' Active

Chief Justice of Pakistan, Umar Ata Bandial said that a delay in elections will allow “negative forces” to become more active in the country.

Pakistan News
| Written By
Bhagyasree Sengupta
CJP Bandial

Image: AP/Twitter/@khadijah_shah

Chief Justice of Pakistan, Umar Ata Bandial said that a delay in elections will allow “negative forces” to become more active. The remark from the Pakistani Chief Justice came during a hearing on the review petition over the Punjab election. The review petition was filed by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) against the Supreme Court’s decision to conduct local polls in Punjab on May 14, Geo TV reported. The local elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have been postponed multiple times in the past. The ongoing political turmoil and the brewing rivalry between Imran Khan and the ruling Pakistan regime have become one of the major reasons for the delay. 

According to the Pakistani news outlet, Geo News, the bench that heard the plea also included Justice Munib Akhtar and Justice Ijazul Ahsan. This was the same branch that issued the decision over the election on April 14. During the hearing, ECP told the court, that it could not organise the election owing to security concerns and paucity of funds. The ECP then went on to file a review petition in which it stated that appointing a date for the election is “not Supreme Court’s mandate”. 

CJP questions the term of the caretaker government 

During the hearing, Chief Justice Bandial questioned the term and the role of the Interim government. “How is it possible that the elected government remain for 6 months while a caretaker government [stays in power] for 4 and a half years?” CJP Bandial asked the ECP. “Where is it written in the Constitution that the [term of] a caretaker government can be extended?” Justice Ahsan added in. The two judges went on to insist that something like this is against the “spirit of the constitution”.

The three justices scrutinised the way ECP handled the situation and made it clear that the question of election in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is not off the radar. “Conducting transparent elections is the responsibility of the Commission. The commission cannot say that there are no funds, so elections cannot be held,” Justice Ahsan remarked.“Don’t think that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has been sidelined by us,” he further added. While the ECP brought in the May 9 vandalism as a matter of concern, Bandial made it clear that the apex court does not deal with “concerns” but rather focuses on the “principles”. Before the hearing was adjourned till May 29, the three justices urged ECP to not bring up the May 9 events in future hearings.

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