A contempt of court plea was filed in the apex court against Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja, and others for disobeying its directive on holding polls in Punjab.
The Punjab elections, which were originally planned to take place on April 30, have been postponed, according to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), which made the announcement on Wednesday. The main reason for the change in schedule is security.
The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) angrily condemned the electoral body’s judgment and appealed it to the Supreme Court; whereas the government welcomed it.
The plea was filed by Advocate G M Chaudhry in the Supreme Court under Article 204 of the Constitution, read with Sections 3 and 4 of the Contempt of Court Ordinance 2003.
The prime minister, the CEC, the ECP members, interim Punjab Chief Minister Syed Mohsin Raza Naqvi, and the chief secretary were all named as respondents in the petition.
According to his argument, the respondents disobeyed the Supreme Court’s order from March 1, 2023, which violates Article 204 of the Constitution and amounts to contempt of the Supreme Court.
He further argued that in an order dated March 22, 2023, the respondent chief election commissioner and the other four ECP members listed various reasons and circumstances that were clear indications that all of the respondents had abjectly failed to carry out their constitutional obligations, functions, and duties.
The petitioner claimed that the respondents were directly at fault for failing to comply with the decision that the Supreme Court had issued in a suo motu case on March 1, 2023.
He asked the Supreme Court to summon the suspected violators of the court verdict in order to begin legal action against them, which would be penalized in accordance with the Contempt of Court Ordinance 2003.
8 October 2023 is the tentative date for general elections and sooner all stakeholders sit down together to ensure free and fair elections the better it is for the whole nation.
This Suo motu and litigation business has to end as the establishment has produced the feasibility and a date. Judiciary understands the signals and politicians including PTI should just focus on getting a fair decision out of the ballot box.