PTI requests SC to implement Punjab elections verdict

—– Apprises top Court of parleys with PDM 

—– Govt proposed dissolution of assemblies on July 30

—– PTI-PDM failed to agree on date of elections during talks, SC informed

—– ECP challenges SC polls verdict, says Judiciary can’t fix elections date

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Wednesday submitted a report to the Supreme Court on negotiations with the Pakistan Demo-cratic Movement (PDM)-led government, requesting the top court to ensure implementation on its April 4 judgement regarding holding elections to the Punjab Assembly on May 14.
In the report, the PTI — the main opposition party led by Imran Khan — apprised the apex court of progress on negotiations, saying it held three rounds of talks with the team of ruling PDM, an alliance of 13 political parties, in line with the commitment made to the top court in the Punjab elections delay case.
During the negotiations, both sides agreed to hold elections on the same day across the country but failed to evolve consensus on the date of the polls, it added.
In the report, the PTI further said it has set some conditions for holding elections simultaneously across the country which included the dissolution of the National Assembly and the provincial assemblies of Sindh and Balochistan on or before May 14.
The elections to the lower house of parliament as well as to the provincial legislature of Sindh, Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan be held together within 60 days of the dissolution of the national and provincial assemblies i.e. in the second week of July, 2023.
“In order to give a Constitutional cover to the holding of the elections to the Provincial Assemblies of Punjab and KPK beyond the period of 90 days, the members of the National Assembly belonging to PTI will rejoin the National Assembly and a one-time constitutional amendment validating the delay in elections beyond the period of 90 days for Punjab and KPK Assemblies shall be carried out by mutual consent of the political parties,” the op-position party said.
The PTI further demanded that all political parties should agree that the election results will be accepted as a “whole subject to individual grievances in accordance with law”.
“An Agreement in writing to the above effect shall be submitted before the Hon’ble Supreme Court of Pakistan in order to ensure that the implemen-tation of the Agreement is complied with by the parties in letter and spirit,” it added.

Moreover, the PTI said the ruling PDM however did not agree with their proposal. Instead, the report stated, the PDM proposed that the dissolution of the National Assembly and the provincial assemblies of Sindh and Balochistan shall take place on the July 30, 2023, and elections be held in 90 days thereafter i.e. the first week of October 2023 for the National Assembly and all provincial legislatures together.

The PTI said despite the “best efforts of parties”, no solution within the Constitution could be arrived at. “It is accordingly prayed that the judgement dated 04.04.2023 passed in Constitution Petition No.5 of 2023 requiring elections to be held to the Punjab Assembly on 14.05.2023 may be implement-ed in letter and spirit so that the Constitution is upheld and does not stand violated, and this petition may be disposed of accordingly,” the report added.

On the other hand, The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Wednesday moved the Supreme Court to review its directives to hold elections for the Punjab Assembly on May 14, urging it not to intervene in its matters.

In a 14-page petition, the electoral body said that apex court should review its decision as the judiciary “doesn’t have the authority to give the date of elections.”

The petition was regsitered hours after the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) said that it would submit a detailed report of the talks between the party leaders and the ruling alliance, urging the apex court to implement its verdict in Punjab polls case.

“It is most respectfully prayed that this August Court may graciously accept the instant Review Petition by revisiting, reviewing, reconsidering and recalling its Impunged Order/Judgment dated 04.04.2023, in the interest of justice and equity,” the petition read.

The petition highlighted that superior courts of the country have been granted a special power under Article 199 and Article 184(3) of the Constitu-tion to judicially review actions/decisions of the public bodies.

“The superior courts can define the contours within which the power (which vests in the public bodies) is or is to be exercised. At no instance, can the superior courts take upon themselves the role of the public body,” the petition read.

The electoral body reiterated that the appointing of the date for the election is “not the mandate of superior courts under the Constitution.”

“Such powers exist elsewhere under the Constitution but certainly not lie in a Court of law,” the ECP said, citing various legalities and reasons be-hind its statement.

The electoral body accused the Supreme Court of disregarding its constitutional jurisdiction, emphasising that it assumed upon itself the role of a public body in giving a date; “thus intervention by the Court is necessitated to correct an error which has effectively changed the settled constitutional jurisprudence of the country.”

The executive and the judiciary — two vital state organs — seem to be on a collision course as the Pakistan Democratic Movement-led government demonstrated its disdain over April 4’s apex court’s ruling, nullifying the ECP’s decision to delay the election in Punjab till October 8 this year after initially announcing it to hold on April 30.

A three-judge SC bench, comprising Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Munib Akhtar, announced the verdict on the PTI’s petition challenging the ECP’s move to postpone the Punjab Assembly polls till October.

The chief justice announced that the election in Punjab would be held on May 14 as the SC declared the ECP’s decision “unconstitutional”.

While the PTI celebrated the “historic decision, the government; however, termed the verdict contrary to the judgments of the Supreme Court’s ma-jority judges, saying it was an “impractical order”.

The issue regarding who has the authority to set the date of the election has been the talk of the town since the PTI dissolved the Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assemblies in January on Imran Khan’s instruction.

The ECP, in its petition filed today, claimed that the august court has overlooked material questions of the Constitution and law, which have material bearing on the decision.

“The errors of law are floating on the face of the record and are manifest and clear that these may not be allowed to remain as such,” the ECP wrote.

It further wrote: “The petition craves the kind indulgence of this august court to allow the petitioner to raise and agitate further grounds once the de-tailed reasoning for the order under review is released.” –Agencies