The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday rejected the petition filed by PTI candidate Asjad Ali Malhi seeking suspension of the Election Commission of PakistanÂ (ECP) decision to hold re-polls in NA-75 Sialkot-IV (Daska).
The electoral body had rescheduled the re-polls to April 10 as the Punjab government pointed out that the current staff required more time to fully understand the electoral process and situation since the previous staff’s suspension and transfer.
A three-member apex bench, presided by Justice Umar Ata Bandial, heard PTI’s petition wherein the justice remarked that he respected the constitutional institution and cannot suspend its orders.
Therefore, re-election would be held but the apex court will decide whether it should be held in the entire constituency or at a few polling stations.
The ECP’s counsel informed the SC that the commission had also sought a report from Punjab’s inspector-general regarding law and order but the province’s top police official has yet to submit the report.
â€œWhy didn’t the election commission issue a contempt notice to IG Punjab for not responding?â€ the judge asked. â€œIs this the level of respect the security agencies have for the ECP?â€
â€œIn one election, my wife and daughter voted, and were happy over it being peaceful, which was due to the presence of the armed forces on election day, while the election commission in Daska relied on the police,â€ the judge said.
Another bench member, Justice Qazi Muhammad Amin, remarked that this culture needs to be eradicated in elections. â€œWill democracy be under the shadow of guns?â€ he added.
On March 10, the commission has decided to immediately fill the vacant electoral staff positions and reschedule the NA-75 by-polls to April 10.
The electoral body had earlier declared the by-poll held on February 19 in the constituency as void and ordered a fresh election on March 18.