Rifaqatullah Rajjarwal

The Supreme Court (SC) ordered on Wednesday that the elections in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) and Punjab should be held within 90 days in the suo motu case regarding the elections in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab. 

However, legal experts are of the view that the verdict of the SC will cause a constitutional crisis because out of nine, four judges in the bench had opposed taking suo motu and recused themselves from hearing the case, while the existing two judges dissented and the decision was delivered by a majority of 3.

The Supreme Court’s judgment briefly stated that elections should be held in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab within 90 days as elections are a pivotal element in a parliamentary democratic system.

In this regard, Supreme Court lawyer Noor Alam Khan told TNN that according to the Constitution of Pakistan, whenever the federal and provincial governments complete their five-year term, the caretaker government will take charge and then announce an election date.

He said that the purpose of the SC verdict is not to hold but to announce the date of elections within three months, while this is possible only when the four provincial and central governments end and then the general elections are declared.

“Declaration of the election date is the Parliament’s job, while implementation is the duty of the Election Commission; the Judiciary, the Prime Minister, and the Governor have nothing to do with that. If the Judiciary continues to make such decisions, it will undermine the dignity of the judiciary.” Noor Alam Khan said.

He said the political parties should resolve their political issues within the parliament, “I think if the parliament is strong, the judiciary will be strong and when the judiciary is strong, the people will be strong, besides, if the decisions of the parliament are taken to the judiciary, and if it goes on like this, then I consider it as an insult to the sacred vote of the people.’’ He said.

On the other hand, political analysts consider the SC’s verdict as an important step towards the strengthening of democracy and civil supremacy.

Quraish Khattak, an expert in political and parliamentary affairs, told TNN that the political situations and events of the federal and provincial governments of Pakistan do not remain the same forever, looking at this situation; it is an excellent gesture to hold elections in a timely manner and according to the constitution.

Quraish Khattak maintained that in most of the countries of the world, the election day at the provincial and federal level is not fixed on the same day, and the terms of the assemblies cannot be completed on the same day, so it is not necessary to hold the elections simultaneously.

Quraish said, “If the situation in the country is not favorable and the election is being postponed on the same pretext, then this will be a violation of the 90-day order of the Constitution of Pakistan, which will create a further constitutional crisis.”

However, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf declared SC today’s verdict as a victory for the constitution.

Party Chairman and former Prime Minister Imran Khan hailed this decision and said in his tweet that they welcome the decision of the Supreme Court, as the protection of the Constitution was the duty of the Supreme Court and the honorable judges have performed this duty very bravely through their judgment today.

He said that this is a seal of approval on the rule of law in Pakistan. ”we are suspending our ‘Jail Bharo movement’ and moving towards election campaign in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab. said the chairman of PTI.

In its decision, the Supreme Court has ordered the President of Pakistan to conduct elections in Punjab in consultation with the Election Commission of Pakistan, and the governor K-P to announce the election date after consulting with the ECP; “If the governor dissolved the assembly then the governor will announce the election date,” the court ruled.

But the question is whether the Election Commission of Pakistan will honor the decision of the Supreme Court.

In this regard, when TNN spoke to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Election Commission spokesperson Sohail Ahmed, he said that this decision will be taken by the commission at the federal level and he is not in a position to know what the commission’s next course of action will be.

Justice Mansoor Ali Shah and Justice Jamal Mandukhel on the bench of the Supreme Court have said in their dissenting note that suo motu notice of trial proceedings is unfair in view of the facts and circumstances.

He said that under Article 184/3, this case is unhearable, unnecessary, and hasty, while these constitutional matters are pending in the Provincial High Courts from the very beginning, therefore the Supreme Court cannot take suo motu notice, and hereby, they reject this whole process.

On the other hand, the federal law minister has said that there is no need to review this decision because, on February 23, two judges said that this case is not admissible, while in today’s decision, 3 judges declared the case as admissible.

It is worth remembering that the Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial had taken sue motu notice against the postponement of the general elections in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab on February 22.

However, the Muslim League-N had some reservations regarding the two judges, Justice Mazahir Ali Naqvi and Justice Ijaz-ul-Ahsan, who were included in the bench, due to which they separated from the bench.

In contrast, Justices Athar Manullah and Yahya Afridi had separated due to disagreement over taking notes of their own accord. After that five judges heard the adjournment, the judgment of which was reserved yesterday and was pronounced today.

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