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Sunday March 03, 2024

Govt-PTI talks result of their ‘own efforts’, no direction given: SC

Top court says Punjab polls on May 14 verdict ‘remains unchanged’

May 04, 2023
A policeman walks past the Supreme Court building in Islamabad in this undated photo.— AFP/File
A policeman walks past the Supreme Court building in Islamabad in this undated photo.— AFP/File

The apex court Thursday clarified that negotiations between the ruling Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) and the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) to break stalemate on general elections timeframe were the result of their “own efforts” and that no direction was issued in this regard.

In a three-page verdict of the April 27 proceedings of the Punjab election delay case, the Supreme Court said its April 4 verdict directing the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to hold Punjab elections on May 14 “remained unchanged”.

“The Court appreciates the efforts of all parties to try to end the current political impasse and in particular their voluntary agreement to enter into negotiations to choose a single date for holding General Elections to the National Assembly and the four Provincial Assemblies,” read the verdict issued by a three-member bench led by Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial.

The apex court also clarified that the “negotiations between the two sides were entirely to be their own effort, without any direction or order of the Court in this regard in any manner”.

“It was also made clear that the order of 04.04.2023 in Const. P.5 of 2023 remained unchanged,” the verdict added.

The development came a day after the ECP moved the Supreme Court against its directives to hold elections to the Punjab Assembly on May 14, urging it not to intervene in its matters.

In a 14-page petition — a copy of which is available with Geo.tv, the electoral body said that the apex court should review its decision as the judiciary “doesn’t have the authority to give the date of elections”.

A day earlier, the PTI submitted a report to the Supreme Court on negotiations with the PDM-led government, requesting the top court to ensure implementation of its April 4 judgement regarding holding elections to the Punjab Assembly on May 14.

In the report, the PTI — the main opposition party led by Imran Khan — apprised the apex court of progress on negotiations, saying it held three rounds of talks with the team of ruling PDM, an alliance of 13 political parties, in line with the commitment made to the top court in the Punjab elections delay case.

During the make-or-break talks on Tuesday, both the opposition and ruling alliance negotiating teams agreed on holding general elections across the country on the same date but failed to evolve a consensus on the timing of the elections.

The PDM-led government has rejected the PTI’s demand to dissolve all assemblies before May 14 to pave the way for elections before the passage of the federal budget in June.