ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN — The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Wednesday made a ruling that elections in the two provinces — Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab — must be held within 90 days.
The direction was given by the apex court in the suo motu notice verdict which was announced by Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial today.
Justice Jamal Mandokhail and Justice Mansoor Ali Shah have dissented from the majority verdict.
Prior to the ruling, the bench held a day-long hearing on Tuesday, before closing proceedings at about 5:15 pm for a short order, then reserving the verdict until Wednesday.
The court also asked political parties to consult their leaderships during a short break and come back with a consensus date for the elections. However, PML-N counsel Mansoor Usman Awan informed the court that consultation would take more time since the PDM coalition also has members in Balochistan, while the PML-N would also have to hold internal discussions as well as consult the PPP.
The CJP pointed out that while nobody was doubting the bona fide of the government, there should be a decision on which authority would announce the date to conduct elections in the provinces of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
The court ruled that if the law is silent, neither the executive authority nor parliament nor any constitutional body has the power to exceed the time limit of 90 days for holding the elections, except for the court.
Raja acknowledged that the President had exceeded his constitutional powers and did not have the authority to announce the election date in KP. However, he also stated that the President had acted in accordance with the constitution and the law when he announced the election date.