CJP Takes Suo Motu Notice Of Punjab, KP Polls Delay, To Hear Case Tomorrow

CJP Takes Suo Motu Notice Of Punjab, KP Polls Delay, To Hear Case Tomorrow
Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Umar Ata Bandial has taken a suo motu notice of the delay in the announcement of election date for Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, citing a “lack of clarity” on the matter.

The development comes two days after President Arif Alvi unilaterally announced that polling in the two provinces will take place on April 9.

The polls in the provinces are due to take place after the two assemblies were dissolved prior to the five-year mandated tenure on the directives of PTI chairman Imran Khan.

Taking notice of the delay in the polls, CJP Bandial constituted a nine-member bench, setting the hearing for Thursday at 2pm.

Besides the CJP, the bench comprises Justice Ijazul Ahsan, Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah, Justice Munib Akhtar, Justice Yahya Afridi, Justice Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi, Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail, Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar and Justice Athar Minallah.

The CJP noted that the matter was referred to him for suo motu proceedings by two SC judges on February 16.

Observing that a month had passed since the assemblies were dissolved, he said, “it seems prima facie that even the matter of appointing the date of the general elections, which is the first step towards the holding of the elections, has still not been resolved”.

CJP Bandial further noted that constitutional authorities "appear to hold divergent, and perhaps even conflicting, views on the issue."

“There is, to put it shortly, a lack of clarity on a matter of high constitutional importance,” he maintained.

On Feb 20, Alvi issued the date for the polls, a day after the ECP recused itself from holding discussions with the president on the elections, saying the matter ‘was being reviewed by the judiciary’.

The Commission had stated that it may not be able to engage in a process of consultation with the office of the president due to the “issue being subjudice at several judicial forums” and a number of other factors. The electoral authority had also criticised the president’s “selection of words” in the letter.