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Monday June 17, 2024

Poll-delay resolution: SC petitioned for contempt proceedings against senators

In contradiction to apex court's earlier ruling, Senate passes resolution seeking polls delay due to security, weather concerns

By Maryam Nawaz
January 06, 2024
A view of the Supreme Court of Pakistan. — SC website/File
A view of the Supreme Court of Pakistan. — SC website/File

ISLAMABAD: A day after the Senate passed a rather controversial resolution seeking a delay in upcoming polls slated for February 8, the Supreme Court (SC) was petition Saturday seeking contempt of court proceedings against the senators behind the move.

Despite the Constitution provisioning holding of elections within 90 days after the dissolution of an assembly, the polls for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Punjab assemblies — dissolved in January last year — have still not been held for almost a year with the national, Balochistan and Sindh assemblies already exceeding their legal threshold as well.

With the fears rife of delays, a petition was moved in the apex court earlier, following which the SC directed the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and President Arif Alvi to announce a date, which they did: February 8.

Days after the announcement, the top court also ruled that no objections could be raised on the delimitations after the announcement of the schedule for the general elections, virtually closing all doors for a delay in polls.

But on Friday, the Senate approved a non-binding resolution seeking a delay in the general elections, set to be staged on February 8, drawing strong criticism from major political parties.

Senator Dilawar Khan, an independent lawmaker, moved the resolution in the upper house of the parliament, which got the approval during the presence of 14 senators — who were the only lawmakers present in the house of 100.

In response, Advocate Ishtiaq Ahmed Mirza filed a petition in the top court today against Chairman Senate Sadiq Sanjrani, Senator Dilawar, and other lawmakers — including those from the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP).

In the plea, Mirza prayed to the court to ensure that elections are held on 8 February as “certain number of days are required to do different acts which the law requires prior to the holding of the said elections and the impugned order passed at the eleventh hour if allowed to remain in the field would not permit the holding of elections on 8 February”.

Moreover, Jamaat-e-Islami’s (JI) Senator Mushtaq Ahmad Khan has also moved a resolution in the Senate calling for holding polls at their scheduled time, which is expected to be taken up for a vote in the next session.