Fazl rejects SC verdict on Punjab, KP elections issue

Published March 6, 2023
ISLAMABAD: PDM President Maulana Fazlur Rehman addresses a press conference, on Sunday. —APP
ISLAMABAD: PDM President Maulana Fazlur Rehman addresses a press conference, on Sunday. —APP

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Democra­tic Movement (PDM) president Maulana Fazlur Rehman on Sunday severely criticised the judiciary for its decisions regarding elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and called for postponement of the elections owing to the prevailing economic crisis and fragile security situation in the country.

“Today we are asked that it is a Constitution’s requirement to hold elections [in Punjab and KP] within 90 days, but the same Supreme Court had given Gen Pervez Musharraf three years’ time to hold polls,” said the Maulana at a news conference.

“Sometimes, in the eyes of the Supreme Court, holding polls in three years is a constitutional requirement and sometimes it [Supreme Court] gives authority to an individual to make amendments to the Constitution,” said the Maulana, who is also chief of his own faction of Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F).

Voicing concern over the recent judgement of the apex court, the JUI-F chief said it was surprising that the judiciary took suo motu notice and thought it had done its job. He said it was presented as a 3-2 decision but they believed that it was a 4-3 decision.

Calls for postponing provincial polls due to economic, security crises; accuses ex-ISI chief, former CJP of lobbying for Imran

He pointed out that two judges had already distanced themselves from the SC bench terming the suo motu notice uncalled-for.

The Maulana invited legal experts to give their opinion that why two judges were not being considered in the total count of judges in the case despite their point of view had a mention in the verdict.

In line with the judgement of the Supreme Court, President Arif Alvi has announced April 30 as the date for the elections in Punjab. The KP governor is yet to announce a date for elections in the province.

The JUI-F chief said the government wanted to hold general elections within the time frame provided in the Constitution. However, he said they had to make decisions after reviewing all the aspects, including “law and order situation, weak national exchequer and price hike”.

The PDM chief lashed out at former prime minister Imran Khan and held him responsible for the prevailing economic crisis in the country. He said Rs80 billion was being demanded by the relevant authorities for publishing ballot papers at a time when the state was unable to provide bread to the poor.

Talking about the rising terrorism in the country, the JUI-F leader doubted if the police and other institutions could provide security during the election process.

Last month, the Ministry of Defence had excused itself from providing security for the KP and Punjab assemblies’ polls and by-elections on the National Assembly seats. Whereas the judiciary was also reluctant to provide its magistrates for performing duties as returning officers during the polls.

The PDM head alleged that former Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief retired Lt Gen Faiz Hameed and former chief justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar were still lobbying for Imran Khan and called upon the institutions concerned to take notice of their involvement.

IMF pressure

He regretted that today the IMF was preparing Pakistan’s budget and controlling the prices.

The Maulana claimed that the International Monetary Fund was creating trouble by all means, stating: “We know as to why the IMF is targeting Pakistan more than any other country in the region.”

He accused the IMF of even creating hurdles in the way of friendly states which wanted to support Pakistan in this difficult time.

Published in Dawn, March 6th, 2023

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