Supreme Court Rules Out Election Delays

The Supreme Court has effectively closed all avenues for delaying the upcoming general elections. The top court, led by interim Chief Justice Sardar Tariq, has decreed that no objections can be raised on delimitations once the election schedule has been announced.

This ruling came in response to an appeal by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) against a decision by the Balochistan High Court (BHC) to alter the delimitations implemented by the election organizing body. The Supreme Court’s verdict was specifically pronounced on the ECP’s appeal against the delimitation of two provincial seats in Quetta.

The Supreme Court also overturned the BHC’s decision on delimitation. This move has essentially shut the door on any potential election delays, as courts across the country will no longer be able to entertain any petition challenging the ECP’s delimitation.

The court’s decision is significant as it prevents the possibility of election delays due to lengthy litigation processes that could arise if petitions against delimitations were admitted. This development follows closely on the heels of the apex court’s nullification of a Lahore High Court (LHC) order that had put a halt to the training of returning officers.

The nullification of the LHC’s order has raised prospects of potential election delays in the country and paved the way for the elections to take place as scheduled. The bench, led by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa, directed the electoral body to announce the election schedule, thereby ending the uncertainty surrounding the polls.

In its order on the ECP’s petition, the three-member Supreme Court bench ruled that the LHC would not hold further hearings on the petitions related to the appointment of polling officers. Any matter pertaining to this issue should be referred to the top court.

The LHC’s decision, which was based on a plea filed by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) lawyer Umair Niazi, had suspended the ECP’s decision to appoint the Returning Officers (ROs) and District Returning Officers (DROs) from the executive branch. Following the top court’s decision, the electoral body issued the much-awaited schedule for the general polls.

In line with the top court’s verdict, the ECP also resumed the training for the ROs and DROs a day earlier. This move is seen as a significant step towards ensuring that the upcoming elections are conducted smoothly and as per schedule.

This ruling by the Supreme Court is a significant development in Pakistan’s political landscape, ensuring that the upcoming elections will proceed without delay. It underscores the court’s commitment to upholding the democratic process and ensuring that the elections are conducted in a fair and timely manner.

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