ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) has strongly condemned the government’s decision to hold general elections on the basis of the 2023 census, which inevitably will cause an unconstitutional delay in the conduct of elections.
SCBA President Barrister Abid S Zuberi and Secretary Muqtedir Akhtar Shabbir in a statement, issued by the Association’s office, on Monday said it is incumbent upon the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to conduct general elections within the time-frame given in the constitution.
They said that Article 224 (2) of the constitution makes it inexplicably clear that elections must be conducted within 90 days of dissolution of the Assemblies. Therefore, the Election Commission is bound to announce a date for the general elections within 90 days and the same cannot be delayed on the basis of delimitation. The SCBA top leaders stated that the recent increase in population requires an increased number of seats in the Provincial and National Assemblies, the same can only be secured through a constitutional amendment.
They added that it is also pertinent to highlight that the provincial caretaker government has only one mandate under the law and the constitution and that is, ensuring fair and transparent elections in the Provincial Assembly within the time period stipulated under the constitution. Therefore, any involvement of the caretaker chief minister in the CCI and federal government’s decision to conduct general elections on the basis of the 2023 census is illegal and beyond their mandate under the law.
They continued that a petition challenging the decision of CCI will be filed before the Supreme Court. The above mentioned office bearers of SCBA shall also call upon the legal community across the country to initiate a nationwide peaceful struggle aimed at safeguarding the Constitution and the rule of law in the event that general elections are postponed beyond the constitutionally prescribed timeframe.