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PHC fixes PTI’s plea for polls under judiciary’s supervision on Dec 18

Muazzam Law Firm > News  > PHC fixes PTI’s plea for polls under judiciary’s supervision on Dec 18

PHC fixes PTI’s plea for polls under judiciary’s supervision on Dec 18

After LHC, PTI submits plea challenging ECP’s notification of ROs, DROs appointment in Peshawar High Court

  • PTI’s Advocate Muazzam Butt submits supplementary plea in PHC.
  • PHC CJ Mohammad Ibrahim Khan-led bench to hear petition. 
  • Judge questions possibility of free and fair elections amid unrest

PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court (PHC) is set to hear Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) petition for holding the sought-after general elections under the judiciary’s supervision, as the party continues to voice concerns regarding free and fair polls.

Former prime minister Imran Khan’s party, via Advocate Muazzam Butt, submitted an amended petition to the high court after the court directed the petitioner to challenge the Election Commission of Pakistan’s notification for the appointment of returning officers (ROs) and district returning officers (DROs) in the plea.

A two-member bench, headed by PHC Chief Justice Mohammad Ibrahim Khan and Justice Shakeel Ahmed, presided over a hearing on PTI’s petition on Friday.

During the hearing, provincial Advocate General Amir Javed contended that the petition initially filed by the party had not challenged the electoral watchdog’s notification, as it was not issued when the petition was submitted.

At this, CJ Khan directed the PTI lawyer to submit the plea after amendment.

CJ Khan said that the administration “currently has no work to do except for issuing the directives under the Maintenance of Public Order (MPO) 3”.

“Are free and fair elections possible in such a situation and under such administration,” he said, referring to over 700 MPO-3 orders issued in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

“This is a national issue, submit a supplementary petition,” the PHC chief justice said, adding that no delay in the elections will be allowed.

During the hearing, the matter of the Lahore High Court’s (LHC) suspension of the ECP’s notification also came under discussion.

In a hiccup in the polling process, the LHC suspended the commission’s notification for the appointment of the ROs and DROs from the executive branch, putting a stop to the training of the election officers.

After the submission of the amended plea, the bench fixed the matter for hearing at 2pm on Monday (December 18).

It may be noted that PTI filed a similar petition in LHC, contesting the appointment of ROs and DROs from the bureaucracy.

The high court’s order on the petition, suspending the national electoral governing body’s notification, brought the election process to a standstill as the ECP halted the training of poll officers, which is mandatory for staging the elections.

However, the ECP took the matter to the Supreme Court, which ruled that there should be no hindrance in staging the polls now.

The apex court stated in its order that the LHC bench issued an order exceeding its jurisdiction, restricting the high court from holding further hearings on the petitions related to the appointment of polling officers. 

Following the Supreme Court’s ruling, the commission also issued the much-awaited polling schedule, ending the months-long fears that the elections might be delayed.

Published in Geo, December 16h, 2023

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