Supreme Court suspends LHC Ruling, Directs ECP To Issue Elections 2024 Schedule Today
The Supreme Court of Pakistan, led by Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa and including Justices Sardar Tariq Masood and Mansoor Ali Shah, on Friday, temporarily halted the Lahore High Court’s (LHC) decision that had suspended the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) notification regarding the appointment of returning officers (RO) and district returning officers (DROs) from the bureaucracy.
In an urgent hearing prompted by the ECP’s petition against the LHC ruling, the three-member bench considered the matter. The LHC had issued the suspension order based on a petition filed by PTI lawyer Umair Niazi, who expressed distrust in the ROs and DROs chosen from the bureaucracy.
The ECP’s lawyer urged the court to declare the LHC ruling unconstitutional and nullify it, emphasizing the time constraint to schedule the upcoming general elections. The Chief Justice noted that the LHC’s decision violated the apex court’s order for holding general elections in the country.
The three-member bench determined that Justice Baqar Najafi of the LHC misused his authority by hastily issuing the order to suspend the ECP notification. The top court also issued a contempt of court notice to the PTI lawyer, emphasizing that the petitioner belonged to the same party that had approached the SC for national elections.
The SC, asserting its commitment to preserving democracy, restrained the LHC from proceeding with the petition against the appointment of ROs and DROs. Additionally, it directed the ECP to issue the election schedule on the same day.
Earlier, the LHC, in a ruling against the ECP’s notification, had favored PTI’s petition challenging the involvement of the bureaucracy in Punjab’s general elections. The court suggested a larger bench formation and sent the file to the LHC chief justice. Following this decision, concerns arose about potential delays in the elections, leading the ECP to halt a three-day training session for ROs.