CJP-led SC bench accepts ECP’s appeal, suspends LHC’s decision
ISLAMABAD: (Web Desk) The Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday suspended the Lahore High Court’s (LHC) verdict and the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) notification regarding the establishment of election tribunals in Punjab province.

The ECP had challenged the appointment of eight election tribunals on the decision passed by the LHC’s single bench.

A five-member larger bench, headed by Chief Justice Isa, also dismissed PTI leader Niazullah Niazi’s objection to the inclusion of the chief justice in the bench hearing the election tribunal case.

The decisions came on the Election Commission s appeal against the LHC’s verdict regarding the establishment of election tribunals.

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During the hearing, the chief justice and PTI lawyer Niazullah Niazi indulged in heated exchange.

The PTI lawyer raised objection to the inclusion of the chief justice in the bench but the motion was swiftly dismissed by the CJ.

The chief justice remarked, "Why not refer Niazullah Niazi’s case to the Pakistan Bar Council? Are we here to be insulted? Enough is enough. We are aware of your affiliations with a political party and will not tolerate continued contempt of the judiciary. This must end."

The Practice and Procedure Committee has marked an end to the era when the CJ had the prerogative to form benches, the CJ said.

Hinting at Imran Khan, Niazi said that the one in jail objects that his election symbol had been taken away.

To which, CJ said, "We provided video link facilities from jail, and no objections were raised at that time.”

He further state, “This defamation of institutions must stop. Headlines in newspapers question how the bench was formed. The era of popular decisions is over; now, the committee has the authority to form benches."

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Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail remarked that courts do not operate as per the wishes of public.

The chief justice then asked the ECP lawyer concerning how many tribunals were needed.

"We need nine judges. We have no objection to consultations, but there should be a balance between dictation and consultation," he replied.

Justice Aqeel Abbasi suggested that two judges could be chosen by the ECP and two by the High Court.

The ECP’s lawyer stressed a need for meaningful consultation and submitted a humble request for the suspension of the LHC’s decision to facilitate this process.

Accepting the ECP’s decision, the Supreme Court suspended the LHC decision to form eight election tribunals and the ECP’s notification dated April 26.

The bench also directed that meaningful consultations between the CJ of the LHC and the Election Commissioner should be held following the appointment of the new LHC chief justice.

The SC then adjourned the hearing without giving next date.