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Verdict likely today on PTI’s plea seeking date for Punjab elections



  • ECP’s lawyer contends body not liable to give election date.
  • Governor tells court that he did not dissolve assembly so he cannot give date.
  • PTI lawyer says president willing to give date for polls.

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Friday reserved its verdict on a plea filed by a citizen and the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) seeking a date for general elections in Punjab.

The court is expected to announce the verdict later today.

During today’s hearing, Inspector General of Punjab Police, Dr Usman Anwar and the chief secretary appeared before the court.

Punjab’s top cop and bureaucrat assured the court that they will follow whatever the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) decides. The chief secretary also said that they would follow through on the court’s order.

Meanwhile, when the ECP’s lawyer, came to the rostrum, he said that the only issue before the court was who would give the date for the polls. He added that there was talk of a provision in the law allowing the ECP and the president to give a date for the elections.

The lawyer objected to that stance, saying the ECP and the president were not the parties in the case.

“The court cannot issue orders to those who are not made the party in the case,” said the lawyer.

At this, the PTI’s lawyer Barrister Ali Zafar said that they made the Election Commission a party to the case by amending the petition. Upon hearing this, the ECP lawyer said that the president was yet to be made party to the case.

“Your objection is that ECP is not a party [in the case],” asked Justice Jawad Hassan.

The counsel told the court that the commission was not a party in giving a date for the elections. He also asked the LHC to show the law which states that the ECP is liable to give a date for the general election.

“The court itself said that they do not want to issue a verdict which cannot be implemented,” reminded the ECP lawyer. He added that implementing Article 220 was not the electoral body’s job.

“How my client can conduct the polls if it is not being provided with funds?” He also told the court that the ECP requires complete support from the federal government.

“I have objections to the acceptance of this plea. In the law, election date can be delayed,” said the lawyer. He reiterated that there is no law which states that the ECP is bound to give a date for the elections.

Governor asks LHC to reject plea

On the other hand, Governor Baligh ur Rehman’s lawyer Shahzad Shaukat said that allegations have been made against his client in all the petitions.

Shaukat contended that if the governor had dissolved the assembly then he would have been asked to announce the date. He also urged the court to reject the petition for being ineffective.

When the governor’s lawyer pushed the court that the governor was not bound to give a date for the polls, Justice Hassan asked if it was not clear in the Constitution then can the president be asked to give a date for the elections.

“Read Article 48, the president has the same role as the governor,” responded Shaukat.

President willing to give election date

PTI’s counsel Barrister Ali Zafar, while responding to the governor’s lawyer, told the court that the chief secretary and IG had assured the court of performing their duties.

Zafar also contended that the president could give a date for the elections, adding that the question of not giving an election date cannot be left unaddressed.

“Governor, president, and Election Commission can give a date for the polls via a notification. Silence cannot be maintained on this,” said Barrister Ali Zafar. He added that the president has not said no and if the court directs then he will follow orders. 


SC to hear reference against Zulfikar Ali Bhutto death sentence next week




  • Nine-member bench, headed by CJP, to hear reference.
  • Last hearing of reference was held on Nov 11, 2022.
  • SC to also hear IHC ex-judge Shaukat Siddiqui plea on removal.

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court is set to take up the 12-year-old presidential reference on revisiting the controversial death sentence awarded to former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto next week, The News reported Friday. 

A nine-member larger bench of the Supreme Court, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Qazi Faez Isa, will hear the presidential reference on reconsideration of Bhutto’s death sentence judgment on December 12.

The decision to fix the instant case was made under Section 2(1) of the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Act, 2023, by a three-member committee comprising CJP Isa, Justice Sardar Tariq Masood and Justice Ijazul Ahsan.

According to Supreme Court Registrar Jazeela Aslam, the other members of the larger bench are Justice Masood, Justice Mansoor Ali Shah, Justice Yahya Afridi, Justice Aminud Din Khan, Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail, Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar, Justice Syed Hasan Azhar Rizvi, and Justice Musarrat Hilali.

It is pertinent to mention that former president Asif Ali Zardari, on April 2, 2011, had approached the apex court through a presidential reference under Article 186 of the Constitution to seek its opinion on revisiting the trial of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) founder Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. The last hearing of the reference was held on November 11, 2022.

Earlier, an 11-member larger bench of the apex court, headed by former chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, had conducted five hearings in the presidential reference.

Babar Awan, the then federal law minister in the PPP regime, had earlier appeared as the federal government’s lawyer in the case and presented lengthy arguments. However, on January 17, 2012, Awan’s law practice license was suspended for criticising the court’s order in the Memogate case. Later, the case was adjourned due to a change of counsel who were appearing in the instant reference.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has also fixed the petition of sacked Islamabad High Court (IHC) Judge Shaukat Siddiqui challenging his removal for misconduct on December 14.

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ECP expected to announce election schedule on December 14




  • ECP has published final list of delimitations.
  • CEC says ECP aware of its duties regarding polls. 
  • Calls on public to participate in elections.

ISLAMABAD: Amid heightened political temperature in the country, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) is expected to announce the schedule for much-awaited general elections on December 14, The News reported Friday. 

Political parties are busy in electioneering and political wheeling and dealing to strengthen their position in the polls which are slated to take place on February 8 next year.

The electoral body recently published the final list of delimitations clearing a major hurdle to the announcement of the polls. It is in the final phase of appointment of district returning officers, returning officers and assistant officers as per the provisions of the Elections Act, 2017.

According to Sections 50 and 51 of the Elections Act, a district returning officer is appointed for each district or a specified area and a returning officer for each constituency for elections to an assembly. 

The provincial election commissioners as well as the Election Commission Secretariat have furnished lists of government officers for the election duty. Their appointment will follow the election-related training.

Separately, in a message on the occasion of National Voters Day, Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja said the printing and delivery of the final electoral rolls had been completed successfully. He said the ECP was fully cognisant of all its constitutional and legal responsibilities regarding elections and related matters. 

CEC Raja also referred to the Election Commission’s full preparedness and commitment and assured the voters of complete security, privacy and transparency throughout the election process. The chief election commissioner called on the public to participate in the polls to shape their bright future.

The Finance Division on Tuesday released Rs17.4 billion to the ECP for poll arrangements, putting to rest election delay rumours.

Last week, the ECP also notified the final list of delimitation of constituencies of the national and four provincial assemblies, paving the way for the announcement of the election schedule.

The CEC also reiterated that elections will take place at its scheduled time and maintained that the commission will ensure complete security during the polls.

He also urged the people to use their right to vote for the “bright future of the country and nation” and cooperate with the ECP to ensure peaceful elections.

Raja also reminded the people that they have “power of vote,” asking them to cast their ballot while keeping in view the future of their children.

National Voters Day is observed each year on December 7 to create awareness among the masses about the importance of vote registration and encourage the electorates to use the power of the ballot to elect their representatives.

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Zardari ropes in Balochistan electables as electioneering gears up




  • Former minister Sikandar Imrani among others join PPP.
  • Zardari welcomes Balochistan leaders into party’s fold.
  • Development comes amid heightened political activities.

Several electables from Balochistan including former chief minister and Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) leader Abdul Qudous Bizenjo joined the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) in the run-up to the February 8 elections.

The development came in a meeting with PPP Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari in Lahore on Thursday, according to a statement issued on the party’s social media channel on Thursday.

During the meeting, former Balochistan minister Sikandar Imrani, Syed Nizamuddin, Syed Hameed, Naseer Ahmed Bizenjo and Mir Abdul Wahab Bizenjo also joined the PPP.

Zardari welcomed them into the party folds.

The development comes amid heightened political temperature in the country with political parties busy in electioneering and political wheeling and dealing to strengthen their position in the elections slated to take place on February 8, 2023.

Last month, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif succeeded in wooing at least two dozen prominent politicians from Balochistan into the party ranks.

The electables included Jam Kamal Khan, Mir Saleem Khosa, Noor Mohammad, Baba Buledi, Sardar Masood Luni, Rubaba Buledi, Sardar Abdul Rehman Khetran, Shoaib Nosherwani, Ramin Jan Muhammad Hassni and Muhammad Khan Lehri joined the PML-N ranks.

PPP leaders Saeedul Hassan Mandokhail, Sardar Fateh Muhammad, and Faiq Jamali jumped ship to join the PML-N.

From the National Party, Mujib Mohammad Hassni and former senator Dr Ashok Kumar, while Zeenat Shahwani of BNP-M and PTI’s Muhammad Jamali and Sardar Atif Sanjrani also joined the PML-N.

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