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Pakistani Government and Opposition Clash Over Supreme Court Verdict on Punjab Elections

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The recent verdict of the Supreme Court of Pakistan on the delay of elections in Punjab has sparked a political confrontation between the government and the opposition parties. While the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) welcomed the decision, the ruling party’s opponents criticized the judgment and accused the court of interference.

The three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial declared the Election Commission of Pakistan’s order extending the date of elections beyond the 90 days period unconstitutional and void. The verdict revived and restored the election program for the Punjab Assembly with a few modifications.

However, Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar, speaking on the floor of the National Assembly, slammed the verdict, saying that the government’s legitimate demands for a full court bench were rejected. He accused the court of showing haste and asked if the verdict was in line with the law and the Constitution. Tarar also criticized the dissolution of two assemblies to satisfy the ego of a person, referring to PTI Chairman Imran Khan.

The opposition parties, including the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), rejected the verdict and accused the judiciary of being politicized. Railway Minister Khwaja Saad Rafique said that no political party would stay silent on the injustice, and the PPP senior leader Sherry Rehman alleged that the judiciary was protecting the “ladla” or blue-eyed boy.

The clash between the government and the opposition over the verdict highlights the deepening political polarization in Pakistan. The ruling party and its opponents have been at loggerheads since the 2018 general polls, which the opposition parties claimed were rigged in favor of the PTI. The opposition’s campaign to oust the government through a long march and mass protests failed to gain traction, and the PTI government has remained in power, facing multiple challenges, including an economic crisis, rising inflation, and a deteriorating security situation.

The Supreme Court’s verdict on the Punjab elections has added fuel to the fire, with the opposition accusing the government of using state institutions to further its political agenda. The ruling party, on the other hand, maintains that it wants state institutions to work within their constitutional ambit and ensure free and transparent elections.

The political standoff between the government and the opposition is likely to intensify in the coming days, with the Punjab elections set to take place on May 14. The government will need to ensure that the elections are conducted smoothly and transparently to avoid further controversy and conflict. The opposition, on its part, will continue to mobilize its supporters and challenge the government’s legitimacy.

In conclusion, the Supreme Court’s verdict on the Punjab elections has deepened the political fault lines in Pakistan, with the government and the opposition taking diametrically opposed positions. The country’s democratic institutions are facing a severe test, and it remains to be seen whether they can withstand the pressure and uphold the rule of law.

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