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Constitutional crisis in Pakistan: Can the Supreme Court resolve the dispute over elections?

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The Senior Vice President of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Fawad Chaudhry, has called on the government to either amend the Constitution or hold elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assemblies in accordance with the Supreme Court’s ruling. Chaudhry argued that the Constitution stipulates that polls should be held within 90 days after the dissolution of assemblies and that the government must either amend the Constitution by a two-thirds majority or hold the elections. The PTI had previously dissolved the assemblies to pressure the government into holding early general elections, but the ruling Shehbaz-led government did not give in to the demand.

The Supreme Court recently directed that elections in Punjab should be held on May 14, and instructed the ruling coalition and the PTI to reach a consensus on the date for polls, with an update due on April 27. However, the government has been accused of planning to create anarchy in the country, with PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi alleging that the government’s intentions were not sincere and that it was edging towards violating the Constitution. Qureshi stated that PTI leaders would appear in court hearings and abide by the Supreme Court’s verdict.

The government, led by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, has claimed that the Supreme Court does not have the power to act as an arbitrator between the government and the PTI and that its job is to announce verdicts in accordance with the law and the Constitution. PM Sharif announced that the matter would be referred to a parliamentary committee, after convening a meeting of the ruling allies.

The ongoing dispute raises questions about the extent of the Supreme Court’s power in relation to the government and political parties, as well as the importance of adhering to the Constitution. It also highlights the challenges of ensuring free and fair elections in Pakistan and the need for a robust and independent electoral system.

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