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

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  • 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. 

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The PPP promises the government will support the budget vote.

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Insiders state that the PPP will support the budget despite expressing reservations about it.

As previously stated, the party leaders had not yet decided whether to support or oppose the federal budget that the administration will be announcing today.

Leading figures have reportedly reached a resolution over the dispute between two parties that are allies.

In order to have the budget approved, the People’s Party will give the PML-N its whole support. Sources stated that the PPP would back the budget’s adoption “in spite of protests and speeches in committee.”

The administration promised the PPP that some of its recommendations would be included in the budget, according to sources. Voting supporting the PML-N budget is a quid pro quo commitment made by the PPP leadership.

For assistance in passing the budget, the PML-N had asked the PPP.

The PPP has not yet decided whether to accept or oppose the budget, according to PPP leader Nayya Bukhari.

The forthcoming yearly budget for 2024–25 and the state of the nation’s economy as a whole were the topics of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and President Asif Ali Zardari’s Tuesday meeting.

The meeting was also attended by Professor Ahsan Iqbal, the Federal Minister for Planning and Special Initiatives, a press statement from the President’s House stated.

The protection of low-income and middle-class interests in the annual budget is a priority, as highlighted by President Zardari. Along with pledging his support for fiscal benchmarks to be met, he also gave the prime minister assurances on national development.

The next budget’s proposed development projects were also discussed by President Zardari and Prime Minister Shehbaz. He told the president about his recent five-day travel to China, the prime minister said.

On June 12th, or today, the federal government will unveil its budget for the fiscal year 2024–25.

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PM Shehbaz will preside over today’s federal cabinet meeting.

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We will talk about the political and economic state of the nation on Tuesday, or today.

The meeting, which will take place in the prime minister’s office, will be facilitated by the prime minister.

As per insiders, the prime minister is expected to reassure the cabinet on his recent trip to China. The meeting will also include a discussion of the proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

The decisions made at the sessions of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) are expected to be ratified by the cabinet as well, according to sources.

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Today, the IHC will hear the petitions of Imran Khan and Bushra Bibi in the matter of an illegal marriage.

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Imran Khan, the founder of PTI, and his wife Bushra Bibi will present their cases in an illegal marriage lawsuit before the Islamabad High Court (IHC) today, Tuesday.

At the hearing will be IHC Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb. Regarding both petitions, the registrar’s office has previously voiced objections.

Bushra Bibi has appealed in her petition that the high court to take note of a matter that is still ongoing in the sessions court about the suspension of her sentence in an illegal marriage case.

In his appeal, PTI founder argued that the District and Sessions Judge Shahrukh Arjumand should be ordered by the high court to announce the case’s reserved ruling.

Through Khalid Yousaf Chaudhry and Barrister Salman Safdar, Bushra Bibi’s attorneys, filed the petition.

The petition was moved in the interim on Imran Khan’s behalf by attorney Salman Akram Raja.

Notably, on February 3, a civil court condemned Imran Khan, the founder of the Pakistan Terrorist Organization, and Bushra Bibi to seven years in prison for their illegal marriage.

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