ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial on Sunday stated that the Constitution demands compliance with holding elections within 90 days, adding that there is no other option but to act upon what the Constitution demands.
“If the constitution states that elections will be held within 90 days, we have to implement it; we have no other way,” he said.
The CJP’s remarks come at a time when discussions among political parties are ongoing on the issue of simultaneous elections across the country following an order by the top court to hold the elections on May 14.
However, the government has repeatedly shown its inability to hold the general election and instead has been urging to hold them later in the year.
Speaking at an event in Lahore regarding minority rights, Justice Bandial said that political parties are currently negotiating the matter of holding elections in the country at the same time.
“We have nothing to do with it. There is an understanding among them (political parties) that they have to uphold the Constitution,” he said.
The Chief Justice of Pakistan stated that while the judiciary is there to support political parties, if they fail to reach a conclusion, the court’s decision will be final.
Justice Omar Ata Bandial stated that the decision of the parties must align with the spirit of the Constitution, emphasising that there is no other option but to act upon what the Constitution demands.
He further said that the courts cannot pass executive orders. “Every citizen of Pakistan has fundamental rights, and the protection of the Constitution is included in our fundamental duties.”
Justice Bandial said, “We are here to support the political parties for the protection of the Constitution; otherwise, our decision is available in other cases.”
He emphasised, “Decisions should be in accordance with the Constitution and the law, and this is where moral authority lies.”
“Constitutionally, we have no other way but to hold elections within 90 days,” Justice Bandial stated. “It is not a matter of personal choice but the Constitution.”
Earlier this week, the Supreme Court distanced itself from the negotiations between the government and PTI over holding the elections for the national and all provincial assemblies on one date, observing that they were entirely their own effort without any direction or order by it.
However, a three-judge bench of the top court, comprising Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Munib Akhtar, while hearing a constitutional petition filed by a citizen Sardar Kashif Khan, who sought elections for all assemblies on one date, appreciated the initiative taken by the political parties.
“The court appreciates the efforts of all parties to try to end the current political impasse and in particular their voluntary agreement to enter into negotiations to choose a single date for holding general elections to the National Assembly and the four provincial assemblies,” the SC order issued on April 27 read.
The court also made it clear in the order that its April 4 verdict — that the elections in Punjab would be held on May 14 – would remain unchanged.