Top court urges rival political parties to hold talks, develop consensus on election date

Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial says there is no obstinacy and redline in negotiation n Process of negotiations should not be open ended, PTI’s Qureshi tells top court n Ruling is binding on all judicial and executive authorities: SC n Political leaders will meet on 26th to discuss election matter, AGP tells SC n PML-N, PPP, PTI, JI leaders appear before three-judge bench.

ISLAMABAD     -    The leaders of the ma­jor ruling parties in­cluding chief of the of Jamat-e-Islami (JI) pro­posed to the Supreme Court of Pakistan on Thursday that elec­tions for all the pro­vincial assemblies and the National Assem­bly should be held on same day, but Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) wanted the court order dated April 4 should be implemented.

A three-member bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Umar Ata Bandial, and comprising Jus­tice Ijaz ul Ahsan and Jus­tice Munib Akhtar conducted hearing of the Civil Miscella­neous Applications of Defence Ministry, Finance Division, and the Election Commission of Pakistan, and the petition of Sadar Kashif Khan for holding of election across the country same day. During the hearing, the Chief Justice cautioned At­torney General for Pakistan Usman Mansoor Awan that they have not recalled their verdict regarding holding of elections in the Punjab on May 14, adding that it is still intact and could not be ignored.

The CJP said; “There are ways to review the judgment, which could not be examined by filing Civil Miscellaneous Application (CMA).” He asked the attorney general that 30-day time for filing review pe­tition is passing. Justice Mu­nib said that they do not have jurisdiction to go beyond the date fixed for holding election.

Justice Bandial said that in negotiation there is no obsti­nacy and red-line. The parties need to show flexibility as it brings workability in the set­tlement. The SC bench men­tioned in its order that pur­suant to its yesterday’s order dated 19.04.2023, the rep­resentatives of the respon­dent No.1 and 2 and the se­nior leadership of all political parties who have duly been in­structed and represent their respective parties are pres­ent in Court today to inform us of the position of their parties on a political dialogue being held for settling a single date for holding General Elections to National Assembly and four Provincial Assemblies.

It added, “On behalf of Paki­stan Peoples Party Parliamen­tarians (PPPP), Faooq H Naek has appeared and stated that a process for conducting such di­alogue has been initiated with­in the coalition partners of Pa­kistan Democratic Movement (PDM) and that it is agreed that heads of all political parties shall meet with the Opposition parties to arrive at a consen­sus date for holding the Gener­al Elections to the said Assem­blies simultaneously.”

The court order said that Kha­waja Saad Rafique has appeared on behalf of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and endorsed the statement made on behalf of PPPP. He also has expressed the willingness of his party to enter into negoti­ations with all political parties to arrive at a consensus date for holding of General Elec­tions of the National Assem­bly and four Provincial Assem­blies simultaneously. It added Qamar Zaman Kaira, for PPPP; Engineer Sabir Hussain Kaim­khani for MQM(P); Tariq Bashir Cheema PML(Q); Israr Ullah Ta­reen for BAP and Sardar Ayaz Sadiq duly instructed on behalf of BNP (Mengal) also addressed the Court and supported the views expressed by Farooq H. Naek and Khawaja Saad Rafique. It further stated that Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Hussain Qureshi, Vice Presi­dent, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) also addressed the court. He assured that notwithstand­ing the misgivings of his party with the political environment and disposition, his party was willing to move forward within the framework of the Constitu­tion to negotiate on an agreed date for holding of General Elec­tions of the National Assembly and four Provincial Assemblies simultaneously. However, he emphasised that the process of negotiations should not be open ended and not to be turned into a ploy for delaying elections, which is the apprehension of his party. He emphasised that such process should be regulated by a timeframe to ensure that the outcome is accomplished ex­peditiously, failing which the Court’s decision for General Elections for the Provincial As­sembly of Punjab to be held on 14.05.2023 be complied.

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