SC will intervene in polls if mala fide detected: CJP

ISLAMABAD    -    Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Umar Ata Ban­dial said yesterday that the apex court will en­sure that free and fair elections are held in accordance under the Constitution by pro­tecting the Election Commis­sion of Pakistan, but if there is some mala fide on the part of the ECP, then we shall inter­fere. Justice Bandial said this while heading a three-mem­ber bench, comprising Jus­tice Yahya Afridi and Jus­tice Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi which was conducting hear­ing of former city chief po­lice officer (CCPO) Ghulam Mahmood Dogar’s petition against the decision of the Federal Service Tribunal (FST). Dogar had also filed the contempt petition against the Punjab provincial gov­ernment. However, the apex court disposed of the former CCPO’s petition against his transfer as his counsel with­drew it. Former Lahore CCPO Dogar was initially suspend­ed by the federal government in November last year. How­ever, the Federal Service Tri­bunal (FST) reinstated him, but in the review the FST maintained the suspension order. The Punjab caretaker government removed Dogar as CCPO on January 23, 2023. The Supreme Court in Febru­ary suspended Dogar’s trans­fer order. However, in March, the ECP challenged the apex court’s order of suspending the transfer of Lahore CCPO Ghulam Mehmood Dogar. “The ECP is charged with a constitutional duty of ensur­ing that the elections are con­ducted honestly, justly, fairly and that the corrupt practices are guarded against. It is im­perative that to ensure that the constitutional duty as en­visaged in Article 218(3) is fulfilled, the machinery as­sisting the Commission is neutral and non-partisan, and also has no germs of af­filiations with a political par­ty,” said the ECP petition. The chief justice remarked that the audio and video leaks on social media have no au­thenticity and a scurrilous campaign is being launched against the judges through these tapes. He said that the audio and video leaks on so­cial media have no authentic­ity and scurrilous campaign is being launched against the judges through these tapes. Justice Bandial said that ev­erything happened after the tapes’ leak. “We are show­ing restraint and not taking action,” he added. Earlier this month, a new audio leak pur­ported to be of a telephone conversation between Paki­stan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Fawad Chaudhry and his brother Faisal Chaudhry advocate.

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