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Election delay would not be permitted, says CJ

March 14, 2013

Supreme Court of Pakistan. — File photo

ISLAMABAD: During Thursday's hearing of a case pertaining to electoral reforms, Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry said not a single day's delay would be permitted in the coming general elections, DawnNews reported.

A three-judge bench of the apex court, headed by the chief justice, was hearing the case relating to implementation of its June 8, 2012, verdict.

During the hearing, Chief Justice Iftikhar said one wrong step may lead to delaying the election for an indefinite period.

The chief justice said the National Assembly was completing its term, adding that the Senate could not take to law making without a National Assembly in place.

Responding to that, Munir Paracha, counsel for the Election Commission of Pakistan, said in that case, amendments would have to be passed by way of ordinances.

Chief Justice Iftikhar said currently the election was among the most important national matters. He asked Paracha regarding his earlier statement that aside from one amendment, the federal government had shown no opposition to the adjustments proposed by ECP in the Representation of People’s Act, 1976.

The amendment in question seeks to appoint monitors to check violations of the code of conduct by contesting candidates on a daily basis for a constituency or a group of constituencies. It is to be made by inserting Section 104(b) in the act.

Paracha said although the government had agreed on the other changes, it was not moving forward with legislation in that regard.

Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed questioned as to why the government was not legislating on the amendments it had agreed on.

Moreover, the chief justice remarked that the election commission was printing nomination forms in accordance with a court order as well as the concerned constitutional requirements.

He said the commission was an independent body and could take the necessary steps, adding that the Constitution had empowered it to do so.

The chief justice added that the government could implement all of the commission's recommendations.

However, Attorney General Irfan Qadir objected saying how could the commission approve and print nomination forms on its own.

To which, the chief justice said if the president had not responded to the nomination form, it implied that he had not rejected it.

Qadir added that although the government was in agreement with most of the recommendations, it still had some reservations on certain issues.