Election delay case: CJP Bandial says ready to call army if required

Bench squeezes to three as Justice Mandokhail recuses; calls himself "misfit"
<p>Pakistan’s Supreme Court/ AFP</p>

Pakistan’s Supreme Court/ AFP

A three member bench of the Supreme Court (SC) comprising Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan and Justice Munib Akhtar resumed the hearing of a constitutional petition regarding delay in elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakthunkhwa (KP).

The top court, entrusted with upholding the rule of law, became a battleground for conflicting ideologies.

The four-member bench was dissolved once again today amidst a growing schism among its members and Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail also recused himself.

During the proceeding, CJP Bandial remarked that if required, they would order calling the army for peaceful conduct of elections.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) submitted a written assurance, promising to remain peaceful and reduce the political temperature during the upcoming elections.

This comes amidst allegations of government repression against the party and its members.

The bench summoned secretaries of defense and finance in the next hearing.

The hearing of the case was adjourned until April 3.


During a hearing, CJP expressed concern over the disregard for maintaining a respectful political atmosphere by political parties.

He warned that if political parties did not respect this guarantee, they would face consequences.

The CJP then asked the Attorney General of Pakistan (AGP) Mansoor Usman Awan whether the economic challenges facing the country would end by October.

The AGP interrupted, asking the court if their request for a full court would be granted. However, the CJP reminded the AGP that valuable time had already passed, and further time would be wasted if new judges were inducted into the bench.

He contended that new judges would require time to comprehend the case and that the rules were clear that cases falling under Article 184 would be adjudicated by a bench with no fewer than two members.

Justice Munib Akhtar questioned the amount of money the government had in the federal consolidated funds and how much the budget deficit would increase if Rs20 billion were spent.

He added that this would make up less than 1% of the total deficit.

The CJP took exception to criticism of the judges, saying that they were being dragged in a political issue and targeted on hearsay.

He reaffirmed that the top court was unified and that the judges were the best in the past two decades.

He also stated that he would listen to dissenting voices if they were about law but warned that those criticizing his colleagues would have to face him.

The CJP emphasized that he acted with honesty and within the ambit of the Constitution and had feelings too.

Schism in legal eagles as SC bench dissolves again

The bench was dissolved after Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail also recused himself from hearing the Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa election delay case today.

Justice Jamal, in a dissenting note, expressed his disagreement with the yesterday’s ruling.

“I was not consulted during its drafting,” he said, adding that the ruling was not formulated in an open court.

It was Justice Faez Isa’s decision which, according to Justice Mandokhail, should have undergone a review in an open court.

Read also: Judges can’t challenge CJP’s constitution of benches: Justice Waheed

Mr. Mandokhail further added that he had some remarks to make yesterday, but he was not given a chance.

“Perhaps my input was not required or valued,” he added, saying “God bless our country”.

In the meantime, Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial constituted a new three-member bench, comprising Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan and Justice Munib Akhtar.

The new bench will resume hearing of the petition regarding delay in elections at 2:00pm.

Read also: Bench doesn’t matter, tell us if polls will be held within 90 days: Imran

Yesterday, the five-member bench was dissolved and reconstituted to four members after Justice Aminuddin Khan disassociated himself from the hearing.

On Wednesday, a top court bench headed by Justice Qazi Faez Isa ordered to adjourn the hearing of cases of constitutional importance and suo motu notices.

A three-member bench of the court issued the order in a case of giving grace marks to Hafiz-e-Quran. The nine-page decision was written by Justice Qazi Faiz Isa, while Justice Shahid Waheed dissented with the decision.

The judgment written by Justice Isa stated that the Constitution and the law do not allow the chief justice to constitute a special bench. There are rules governing petitions filed under Article 184(3).

There are no rules for fixing suo motu cases and setting up benches.

Hence, until such rules are framed, the hearing of important constitutional and suo motu automatic cases should be postponed.



Supreme Court

Punjab KP elections


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