The Supreme Court of Pakistan has reserved its verdict on the petition filed by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) regarding the postponement of polls in Punjab. The decision will be announced on Tuesday, after a full day’s hearing on Monday.
The three-member bench hearing the case was led by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial and included Justice Munib Akhtar and Justice Ijazul Ahsan. During the hearing, the CJP expressed his concerns about the possibility of something happening during the polls and the court being blamed for it. He stated that political parties were given the option to resolve the matter through political dialogue, but none of them responded to the offer.
The CJP emphasized that the Constitution is clear about when elections should be held and that people believed they were above the Constitution and wanted their cases to be decided by judges of their preference. However, the Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) Mansoor Awan denied that anyone had done so.
The government lawyers’ arguments were not heard by the court, as the government had declared ‘no-confidence’ in the SC bench hearing the case. PML-N lawyer Akram Sheikh stated that he had appeared before the SC to assist it and that he had the utmost respect for the apex court, but the ruling parties had expressed no confidence in the three-member bench hearing the case. The CJP instructed him to provide a written submission for the court’s review.
The court also directed the defense secretary to submit a classified report explaining why the armed forces are not available to perform security duties during the provincial assembly elections. The CJP asked whether other forces like the Pakistan Air Force, Navy, and Rangers could be considered if the armed forces were not available. He also asked whether reserved army officials could be called for elections duty.
The PTI lawyer Ali Zafar said that he did not want to review the sensitive information as it was not necessary to see the security issues in this case. Justice Bandial commented that if the entire army was too busy to provide safety for the polls, then help could be taken from the navy and the airforce. He added that the Election Commission of Pakistan (PTI) said 50% of the polling stations were safe.
The defense secretary informed the court that the security situation in Punjab was serious but could not divulge details in an open court as he did not want the information to reach the enemy.
In conclusion, the Supreme Court’s decision regarding the PTI’s petition for the postponement of polls in Punjab is awaited. The court has expressed its concerns about the possibility of something happening during the polls, and the government’s no-confidence in the bench hearing the case has further complicated matters. The court has directed the defense secretary to submit a classified report on why the armed forces are not available for security duties during the provincial assembly elections, and it remains to be seen whether other forces can be considered for the task. The situation is tense, and everyone awaits the verdict with bated breath.