A petition seeking to hold general elections for the national and provincial assemblies in Pakistan simultaneously is being heard by the Supreme Court (SC) since Thursday.
The Civil Miscellaneous Applications of the Defence Ministry, the Finance Division, and the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), and Sardar Kashif Khan’s petition for holding the elections on the same day across the country are being heard by a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial, and comprising Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Munib Akhtar.
The Defence Ministry’s plea requests that the elections for the National and all Provincial Assemblies be held together upon completion of their terms, instead of holding Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa elections earlier.
On Wednesday, political parties were issued notices by the SC to send their representatives regarding the case, along with the Federation, the ECP, and the Attorney General for Pakistan under Order 27A of the CPC.
The CJP stated at one point that the funds spent on elections were a “necessary” expense, and added that the government is expected to review its decision. “The government should either decide or again refer the matter to the NA,” he said.
The federal government wants the polls to take place later this year when the tenure of the National Assembly and the legislature of two other provinces, Sindh and Balochistan, ends, instead of May, as directed by the top court.
The AGP Mansoor Usman Awan said that Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari had called on Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif in Islamabad, and efforts were being made to initiate political dialogue.
The ruling parties, except for one, are willing to talk with the PTI, and Bilawal would meet with the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman to convince him of negotiations.
CJP Bandial said that the AGP’s stance had some weight and the court could “make some room” if all political parties were united in their stance. He observed that the government did not respond when the court asked for assurance and spoke positively for the first time that day. He also said the court was issuing a notice to political parties.
The government was warned by the court that there would be serious consequences if it failed to release funds required for conducting polls in Punjab and KPK.