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Verdict likely today on PTI’s plea seeking date for Punjab elections

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  • ECP’s lawyer contends body not liable to give election date.
  • Governor tells court that he did not dissolve assembly so he cannot give date.
  • PTI lawyer says president willing to give date for polls.

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Friday reserved its verdict on a plea filed by a citizen and the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) seeking a date for general elections in Punjab.

The court is expected to announce the verdict later today.

During today’s hearing, Inspector General of Punjab Police, Dr Usman Anwar and the chief secretary appeared before the court.

Punjab’s top cop and bureaucrat assured the court that they will follow whatever the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) decides. The chief secretary also said that they would follow through on the court’s order.

Meanwhile, when the ECP’s lawyer, came to the rostrum, he said that the only issue before the court was who would give the date for the polls. He added that there was talk of a provision in the law allowing the ECP and the president to give a date for the elections.

The lawyer objected to that stance, saying the ECP and the president were not the parties in the case.

“The court cannot issue orders to those who are not made the party in the case,” said the lawyer.

At this, the PTI’s lawyer Barrister Ali Zafar said that they made the Election Commission a party to the case by amending the petition. Upon hearing this, the ECP lawyer said that the president was yet to be made party to the case.

“Your objection is that ECP is not a party [in the case],” asked Justice Jawad Hassan.

The counsel told the court that the commission was not a party in giving a date for the elections. He also asked the LHC to show the law which states that the ECP is liable to give a date for the general election.

“The court itself said that they do not want to issue a verdict which cannot be implemented,” reminded the ECP lawyer. He added that implementing Article 220 was not the electoral body’s job.

“How my client can conduct the polls if it is not being provided with funds?” He also told the court that the ECP requires complete support from the federal government.

“I have objections to the acceptance of this plea. In the law, election date can be delayed,” said the lawyer. He reiterated that there is no law which states that the ECP is bound to give a date for the elections.

Governor asks LHC to reject plea

On the other hand, Governor Baligh ur Rehman’s lawyer Shahzad Shaukat said that allegations have been made against his client in all the petitions.

Shaukat contended that if the governor had dissolved the assembly then he would have been asked to announce the date. He also urged the court to reject the petition for being ineffective.

When the governor’s lawyer pushed the court that the governor was not bound to give a date for the polls, Justice Hassan asked if it was not clear in the Constitution then can the president be asked to give a date for the elections.

“Read Article 48, the president has the same role as the governor,” responded Shaukat.

President willing to give election date

PTI’s counsel Barrister Ali Zafar, while responding to the governor’s lawyer, told the court that the chief secretary and IG had assured the court of performing their duties.

Zafar also contended that the president could give a date for the elections, adding that the question of not giving an election date cannot be left unaddressed.

“Governor, president, and Election Commission can give a date for the polls via a notification. Silence cannot be maintained on this,” said Barrister Ali Zafar. He added that the president has not said no and if the court directs then he will follow orders. 

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The IHC upholds Bushra Bibi’s request to be transferred from Bani Gala to Adiala Jail.

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Bushra Bibi’s request to be transferred from Bani Gala to Adiala Jail was granted by the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday.

The former first lady Bushra Bibi’s application to be transferred from Bani Gala sub-jail to Adiala was heard today.

Details reveal that the Islamabad High Court heard a motion to restore the denied petition about the relocation of Bushra Bibi, the wife of PTI founder, from sub-jail Bani Gala to Adiala.

The application for the reinstatement of appeal was heard by Justice Miagul Hassan Aurangzeb. When state attorney Abdul Rehman entered the courtroom on behalf of the state, Usman Riaz Gill represented the former first lady.

State counsel did not object to the appeal being restored during court proceedings. At the following hearing, the court asked for assistance in determining what conditions must be met for a location to be designated as a sub-jail.

The court also mandated that Bushra Bibi’s medical examination be scheduled. The court subsequently delayed the hearing and gave instructions to fix the appeal for April 22.

Recall that the attorneys for former first lady Bushra Bibi, Barrister Salman Safdar, Usman Riaz Gill, and Khalid Yusuf Chaudhary, had filed an application to restore the dismissed appeal a day ago, but the Islamabad High Court had denied their request to pursue the case.

The petition contended that the traffic gridlock at the Sarina Chowk checkpoint was the reason for the delay in getting to the court.

The attorneys did not purposefully take their time getting to court. They warned that the petitioner would suffer irreversible loss if the petition was not resurrected.

IHC Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb has voiced his displeasure at the absence of attorneys from the court.

According to Judge Aurangzeb, the former first lady would have been imprisoned if Bushra Bibi’s attorneys had prevailed in this case. The attorneys themselves were opposed to Bushra Bibi’s incarceration.

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oath-taking ceremony for the Balochistan cabinet postponed

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The Balochistan cabinet’s oath-taking ceremony, which was supposed to take place at the Governor’s House today (Thursday), has been rescheduled.
The Governor’s House spokeswoman announced that the Balochistan cabinet’s swearing-in event has been postponed. Nevertheless, there was no explanation provided for the ceremony’s postponement.

It is important to note that the 14-member Balochistan cabinet, which consists of two members from the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) and six ministers from the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) was set to take the oath of office today, Thursday.

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Senior PML-N leaders want the X ban lifted.

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A veteran party leader and former railways minister, Khawaja Saad Rafique, claimed the caretaker government’s social media ban didn’t help anyone.

Saad Rafique warned his party’s present government to avoid becoming a laughing stock since politics requires political moves.

“Bans and prohibitions come where dictatorship prevails over democracy,” PML-N veteran Javed Abbasi remarked of the social media ban.

“Can we ban matches factories fearing they ignite fire?” he asked. He said, “We scare of truth and try to keep it under the veil.”

He called the PML-N administration cruel for banning free speech.

The Interior Ministry said the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday that X, formerly Twitter, needed to be banned since it violated Pakistani legislation.

Interior Secretary Khurram Agha reported on the high court’s rulings on the social media ban petition for the ministry.

Social networking site X was down for two months in Pakistan when the hearing took place.

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