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PM Shehbaz reiterates demand for full court to hear election case

"If full court was formed earlier, then everybody would have accepted decision," Premier Shehbaz says

By APP
April 06, 2023
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif addresses at the inaugural ceremony of Islamabad Lawyers Complex on April 6, 2023. — PID
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif addresses at the inaugural ceremony of Islamabad Lawyers Complex on April 6, 2023. — PID

Expressing his concerns over the verdict issued by a three-member bench of the Supreme Court (SC) relating to the polls' date in Punjab, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif Thursday reiterated the demand for a full court to hear the election case.

Speaking at the foundation stone laying ceremony of the Islamabad Lawyers Complex, the premier said that his coalition government would accept the decision of the full court bench of the SC in the case for polls' date in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

He said that those judges who recused themselves, however, should not be made part of that bench. PM Shehbaz recalled that Justice Munir was the creator of the principle of necessity which took Pakistan in a certain direction.

“We respect Supreme Court and justices and their decisions should apply to everyone,” he added.

PM Shehbaz said that if the demand for a full bench of the apex court was accepted in the case for elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa then everybody would have accepted the decision.

The three-member bench — led by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial and comprising Justice Munib Akhtar, and Justice Ijaz Ul Ahsan — ordered the electoral watchdog to hold the election in Punjab on May 14 — the verdict strongly opposed by the incumbent government.

The ECP postponed the date of the election in Punjab to October 8 — initially scheduled to take place on April 30 — citing a resurgence of terror attacks, a shortage of security personnel and an unprecedented economic crisis.

After the apex court's order, the election commission notified May 14 as the election date, with the stalled polling process to resume on April 10.

The prime minister also said the decision of Justice Qazi Faez Isa was invalidated through a circular in a case then a six-member larger bench was formed for the same case. Article 63-A of the constitution was rewritten and the appeal filed by the government in the top court was still not heard, he continued.

He said no political party could evade elections as it would bury its politics.

He said a court verdict was given that a prime minister was nothing without his federal cabinet but this principle was not applied to others.

The PM said all the stakeholders should look at their conduct and decide whether they wanted to protect the future of coming generations or they wanted to indulge in fights for their personal interests and take Pakistan in a direction from which nobody could come back.

“We have to protect the future of Pakistan which is faced with many challenges. We should take decisions with a cool head and stay united for the interest of Pakistan.”

While expressing happiness at the construction of Lawyers Complex, he said the project would be built at a cost of Rs1.8 billion.