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SHC dismisses petition against PM’s election as not maintainable

Jamal Khurshid
Tuesday, Mar 05, 2024

The Sindh High Court on Monday dismissed a petition against the election of the prime minister of Pakistan as not maintainable.

Sohail Hameed submitted in the petition that the Election Commission of Pakistan failed to conduct elections fairly and in transparent manner and did not decide complaints of candidates contesting general election with regard to the compilation of election results.

He submitted that the ECP also failed to issue the final results within fourteen days. He requested the court to declare the act of election of PM as unlawful without the compilation of consolidated results and decisions on complaints of candidates with regard to discrepancies in the results.

A high court division bench headed by Chief Justice Aqeel Ahmed Abbasi inquired the petitioner whether he verified from the ECP’s website information with regard to the uploading of election results. The court observed that the petition is not maintainable as the court cannot decide matters relating to election, which has to be decided either by the ECP or by the election tribunals under the law.

The petitioner submitted that he will be satisfied if the ECP is directed to make compliance with Section 95 (10) of the Election Act 2017 that provides that the ECP shall publish consolidated results within 14 days from the date of polls.

The additional advocate general submitted that such an exercise had already been done and all forms had been uploaded on the ECP website. He said that the petition is not maintainable as provincial and national assemblies have been constituted. The court observed that it did not find any merit in the petition and dismissed the same.

Separately, the SHC adjourned contempt of court applications filed by PTI-backed independent candidates who challenged the election results of NA-231, NA-238 and NA-247 Karachi. Petitioner Haleem Adil Sheikh, Syed Abbas Hussain and Khalid Mehmood Ali submitted that they secured the highest number of votes in the constituency but the returning officers did not declare them as returned candidates from the constituencies.

They said that the court had directed the ECP to decide their complaints with regard to discrepancies in the election results, but ECP members failed to pass ay order in the matter and violated the court order within the stipulated time. They sought contempt of court proceedings against the ECP members for violating the court orders. The court adjourned the hearing on the request of counsel who sought time to obtain a copy of the ECP’s detailed order on their complaints.

Roads closure

The SHC on Monday took exception to the closure of roads and streets around the National Stadium during the matches of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) despite the assurance of the provincial police chief that Sir Shah Suleman Road would not be closed during the PSL matches.

During the hearing of a contempt-of-court application filed against the police for the violation of the court’s orders, an SHC division bench headed by Chief Justice Aqeel Ahmed Abbasi asked the provincial law officer why the roads leading towards the stadium were closed despite the court’s orders to the contrary.

The bench said the Sindh police chief had submitted a statement to the court that roads would not be closed during the PSL matches, but the court’s order was not complied with.

The Karachi traffic police chief said that the order of the court had been communicated to the relevant authorities and police officials, but roads were closed due to security threats. The court said people face extreme hardships due to the closure of roads, pointing out that they would take to the streets if they were to lose confidence in the judicial system.

City traffic police chief DIG Iqbal Dara, Special Security Unit Operations DIG Irfan Baloch, East Zone Operations DIG Azfar Mahesar and Legal DSP Mohammad Tufail tendered their unconditional apologies to the court.

They said that on account of some security alert, the order of the court and the undertaking given on behalf of the traffic police chief could not be complied with in letter and spirit. They also said that they would be careful in future.

The court directed the police officers to submit by March 5 (today) an undertaking in writing or a joint undertaking with regard to ensuring compliance with the undertaking already given by the traffic police chief and with the court’s order.

The bench said that the appearance of the alleged contemners would be dispensed with if such an undertaking is submitted to the court. The court had earlier disposed of a petition against the closure of roads during the PSL after the Sindh police chief’s statement that Sir Shah Suleman Road would not be closed during the matches.

The petitioner had filed a contempt-of-court application against the police saying that despite the court’s order, roads were closed on March 3. He said that the roads leading to the stadium from Hasan Square were closed during the matches, not only affecting his business but also causing inconveniences to people stranded for hours in traffic jams due to traffic diversion.

He also said that the closure of roads affected the routine life of people travelling to the Aga Khan University Hospital, the Liaquat National Hospital and Bahadurabad. He requested the SHC to direct the government functionaries to ensure smooth traffic flow during the PSL matches, and also ensure that the roads leading to the stadium are not closed.