Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari maintained his stance and called for expedited polls.
Bilawal Bhutto, addressing an event commemorating the golden jubilee of Pakistan’s Constitution, organized by the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA), Bilawal emphasized that procrastinating on the election schedule is tantamount to negating the essence of the electoral process.
Bilawal articulated a pressing demand for an unequivocal election timeline and a fair competitive arena for all political factions during his speech.
Drawing upon the historic 2009 lawyers’ movement that significantly altered the judiciary-parliamentary dynamics, Bilawal highlighted the monumental shift it brought in the judicial realm. He referenced a prominent attorney’s critique from the era, pointing out the emergence of overconfidence within judicial ranks and an aggressive streak in legal practices following the public-driven reinstatement of the then-chief justice, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.
A Legacy of Partisanship in Election Oversight
Reflecting on the subsequent general elections, Bilawal expressed reservations about the impartiality of the judicial oversight, citing apparent biases during the 2013 and 2018 polls. Despite these past controversies, he harboured hope for a reformed approach in the upcoming elections. The continual demand for a confirmed election date has gone unheeded since the parliamentary term concluded, Bilawal disclosed, asserting the undeniable right to elections, irrespective of his endorsement of the 90-day timeframe.
Judicial Observations on Election Timelines
Contrasting with Bilawal’s urgency, the Chief Justice of Pakistan, Qazi Faez Isa, acknowledged the impracticality of adhering to the 90-day election deadline, citing inadequate preparatory measures by the petitioners. This acknowledgement came during a hearing concerning petitions advocating for elections to proceed within the specified period post-dissolution of assemblies. Chief Justice Isa, along with Justices Athar Minallah and Amin-Ud-Din Khan, deliberated on petitions presented by entities including the SCBA and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), who sought constitutional compliance in the electoral scheduling.