CJP Isa hints at taking up pleas on election, military court trials

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ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa on Thursday hinted that the Supreme Court may take up the petitions seeking timely elections and challenging the trial of civilians in military courts soon. The CJP passed the remarks while discussing the adjournment of a case related to Pak Arab Refinery’s employees when the lawyers for the petitioners asked the top judge to adjourn the hearing for 15 days. “Cases seeking timely general elections and trial of civilians in military courts will be fixed soon. Difficult cases are about to come in the Supreme Court and it will be tough to schedule other cases [during this period],” remarked CJP Isa. He further stated that they would fix the employees’ case after two months. Uncertainty around polls The Shehbaz Sharif-led government dissolved the National Assembly on August 9, while Sindh and Balochistan assemblies were also prematurely dissolved to allow the electoral authority to hold elections in the country within 90 days. Had the assemblies been dissolved on time, the electoral body was constitutionally bound to hold polls in 60 days. However, the ECP decided against holding polls within the stipulated time as the Council of Common Interest (CCI), days before the dissolution of the assemblies, approved the 7th Population and Housing Census 2023. The CCI approval made it mandatory for the commission to hold elections following fresh delimitations in light of the results of the census. Subsequently, on August 17, the ECP announced the schedule of new delimitations to be carried out as per the new census approved by the CCI. But in September, the commission announced that general elections in the country would take place in the last week of January 2024. However, before the announcement, multiple petitions were filed in the Supreme Court against the delay in polls. Web Desk