Supreme Court hears plea to hold simultaneous elections tomorrow

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(LR) Justice Munib Akhtar, Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial and Judge Ijaz ul Ahsan.  — SC website
(LR) Justice Munib Akhtar, Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial and Judge Ijaz ul Ahsan. — SC website
  • A three-member chamber, led by CJP, will hear the case tomorrow.
  • The petitioner says that holding simultaneous elections will save billions of rupees.
  • Plea argues that same-day polls are “in the interest of justice and fairness.”

ISLAMABAD: A three-member Supreme Court judge will hear a petition on Friday (tomorrow) asking the top court to order that elections be held on the same day across the country.

The bench will be headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial and will consist of Justice Ijaz Ul Ahsan and Justice Munib Akhtar.

The petition filed by a citizen, Sardar Kashif Khan, nominated the federal government, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and major political parties as respondents.

The petition states that it “would be in the interest of justice and equality, as well as the fulfillment of constitutional requirements (and the balancing of conflicting constitutional requirements) if the general elections of the National Assembly and all four provincial assemblies were held together. kept rather piecemeal”. .

If elections were held on the same day nationwide, they would be held under caretakers who would “ensure that the general election is conducted fairly, justly, fairly and in accordance with the law”.

“Having political governments in power in the provinces when general elections to the National Assembly are held has the potential to negatively influence the election of the National Assembly more than in the reverse situation, as provincial governments have operational control on all day-to-day affairs in the respective NA constituencies (other than those in ICT),” the petition added.

In addition, holding elections simultaneously would save billions of rupees and allow costs to be budgeted for the coming year.

The armed forces and police would also be needed only once instead of several times, allowing them to spend more time on their main tasks, it said. The move would free up law enforcement agencies to focus instead on improving law and order in the country.

The petition argued that elections for the Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) assemblies would be held on the basis of the results of the 2017 census, while those for the National, Sindh and Balochistan assemblies would be held on the basis of the latest censuses. “Such a situation should preferably be avoided as it can also lead to unforeseen complications,” it urged.

It pointed out that the difference between the date previously ordered by the apex court for polling in Punjab and the date proposed by the government in October was “only a few months, so there was no significant damage or delay” .

The petition further stated that parliament could address the problems of postponing the Punjab and KP polls by passing a constitutional amendment.

The Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM)-led government and the opposition Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) held multiple rounds of talk on the guidelines of the Supreme Court to try to reach a consensus on a date for the elections.

Both sides agreed to hold elections on the same day nationwide, but failed to agree on the date of the polls.

Yesterday, the Imran Khan-led PTI has submitted a report to the Supreme Court on negotiations with the PDM government, requesting the Supreme Court to ensure implementation of its judgment of 4 April regarding holding elections for the Punjab Assembly on 14 May.

In the report, the PTI – the main opposition party – informed the apex court about the progress of the negotiations and said it had held three rounds of talks with the team of ruling PDM, an alliance of 13 political parties, in line with the commitment to the Supreme Court in the Punjab Election Postponement Case.

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