The Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa has underscored the autonomy of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) as a constitutional entity, clarifying that the Supreme Court will not intervene in its affairs unless unconstitutional actions are taken.
During a Supreme Court hearing of the ECP’s petition against the Peshawar High Court (PHC) verdict, reinstating the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) electoral symbol, the bat. The case, presided over by a three-member bench including Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar and Justice Musarat Hilali, is being broadcast live on the Supreme Court website and YouTube channel. Advocate Hamid Khan and Barrister Ali Zafar represented PTI, while Makhdoom Ali Khan appeared for the ECP.
The PHC recently overturned the ECP’s decision to revoke PTI’s bat symbol and reject its intra-party elections. PTI leaders, led by Barrister Gohar Ali Khan, had petitioned the high court, contesting the ECP’s decision. Subsequently, the ECP appealed to the Supreme Court under Article 185(3) of the Constitution, questioning the PHC’s approach to resolving the matter quickly without detailed reasoning.
During the hearing, CJP Isa expressed the court’s readiness to sacrifice their weekend to ensure timely and lawful elections. PTI’s counsel challenged the ECP’s right to appeal, arguing that the ECP was not a directly affected party. However, CJP Isa highlighted the ECP’s critical roles in political party affairs and election transparency, emphasizing the importance of its ability to appeal decisions.
Contempt of Court Notice Issued by PHC
In a related development, the PHC issued a notice to the ECP following PTI’s petition for contempt proceedings against the commission for not adhering to its order on intra-party polls. The petition argued that the ECP had not published the certificate of PTI’s intra-party elections on its website despite the PHC’s directive.
The notice was issued during a hearing by a two-member bench comprising Justice Shakil Ahmad and Justice Waqar Ahmad, with PTI counsels Qazi Muhammad Anwar and Shah Faisal Ilyas in attendance. The PTI’s contention revolves around the ECP’s non-compliance with the high court’s directive, which had previously invalidated the ECP’s decision to revoke PTI’s intra-party elections and electoral symbol.