IHCBA is divided over holding elections in Punjab and K-P.
ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court Bar Association (IHCBA) is divided over the filing of a constitutional petition, which asks that the Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa governors, as well as the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), be ordered to announce the election date(s) for the two provinces right away.
IHCBA Secretary Saad Ahmad distanced himself from the petition-filing action, claiming that the executive body had not granted its permission.
The IHCBA secretary vehemently disagreed with a statement made by IHCBA President Shoaib Shaheen regarding the petition’s filing.
“We object to this news release,” said the spokesperson.
The secretary in a statement stated that the offices of the bar associations, since their inception and throughout their existence, had remained highly motivated towards making a positive change in the society through political process.
“This activism and terms of engagement with the political process comes with self-accountability and the will to remain steadfast in the face of adversities. It does not mean, however, that the offices of bar associations should become aligned to a particular political party and carry forward the manifesto or political objectives of its leadership.
“Since the press release is creating such an impression, we deem it appropriate to dispel the image and reiterate our commitment to remaining committed to the cause of justice and for the welfare of the ordinary citizens of Pakistan, rather than allowing us to be backed and banked by political parties.”
The statement also stated, “Furthermore, it is regrettable to note that neither permission nor this office’s confidence was obtained before the press release was released.
“The undersigned office has chosen to disassociate itself from the news release that was distributed on February 9, 2023 in light of this pretext and background.
Through Abid Zuberi, who is also the head of the Supreme Court Bar Association, the IHCBA president submitted a petition (SCBA). Both attorneys are members of the Hamid Khan Group of the Professional Lawyers Group. This organisation has ties to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). The Independent Lawyers Group, also known as the Asma Group, is allied with the PDM-led administration, on the other hand.
The legal discussion on delaying the elections for the Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa assemblies has also begun.
“To propose that provincial and federal elections be held concurrently is to disobey the Constitution,” noted eminent attorney Salman Akram Raja.
According to attorney Salahuddin Ahmed, the Constitution does not mandate that provincial and federal elections be held concurrently.
“Judges would have to enact new legislation in order to read such a provision into the Constitution. similar to when they created a statute declaring that votes cast by defectors need not be counted.”
They were also supported by another attorney.
However, he asserted that it has been customary since 1973 to hold the federal and provincial elections concurrently.
“Till 1993, they used to be held on different dates. Usually, three days apart, but since 1997, they have been held on the same date.”
He said that the problem at hand has become more of an economic constraint than a political or constitutional issue.