Delay in polls: CJP says top court can’t force govt to hold negotiations


Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial said on Thursday that the Supreme Court could not force the government to hold negotiations with the opposition.

He passed these remarks as a three-member SC bench, headed by the CJP and comprising Justices Ijazul Ahsan and Munib Akhtar, took up the elections delay case. However, the hearing was adjourned barely an hour after it started with the CJP saying that a detailed order would be issued later.

At the previous hearing, the court had asked political parties to hold talks on April 26 and come up with a response by today after giving stakeholders a chance to reach an agreement. Political parties had been asked to decide the matter quickly, since the May 14 date for elections was still in the field and the order was binding on all authorities.

However, no talks were held and the government also refused to comply with the April 4 directive.

A day earlier, National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, on demand of the lawmakers, wrote a letter to the CJP saying that “it is best to leave the resolution of political matters by the parliament and the political parties”.

During the hearing today, the court raised questions over the government’s “seriousness” regarding holding negotiations. “What steps has the government taken to show its good will? It seems like the government is playing pass-pass,” Justice Bandial said.

He also remarked that politicians should themselves find solutions to the problems, adding that “the Constitution and our order [on polls] is present” if the differences were not sorted out via talks.