Election saga and court’s decree

A five-member bench of the Supreme Court of Pakistan announced its reserved verdict on Wednesday in suo moto notice on the delay in holding elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The apex court ordered the government to hold general polls in both provinces within the stipulated time of 90 days. The court declared that the KP Governor was in breach of his constitutional duty and he must announce the date for elections in the province after necessary consultation with the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP). As governor Punjab had no role in the dissolution of the provincial assembly so the court did not mention his misconduct in this regard. The Supreme Court also directed President Dr. Arif Alvi to consult with the ECP and try to hold elections in Punjab within 90 days. The Supreme Court further directed the Federal Government to make utmost efforts and extend all facilities to the provinces for elections and further asked the government to ensure that the government of every province is carried on in accordance with the provisions of the constitution.

The proposed elections in two provinces were a highly continuous issue for the ruling coalition government and the PTI-led opposition because the dissolution of both assemblies was part of a bigger Scheme regarding future governments in the center and provinces. The election saga had been a persistent dilemma in our national politics over the past decade. The second round of Pakistan’s cantankerous politics commenced when PTI Chief refused to accept the results of the previous general election in 2013 and staged a prolonged anti-government campaign along with 126 days of sit-ins in the national capital to resolve the issue of 35 punctures. Whereas, a similar episode was repeated by the PDM coalition, which rejected the results of the 2018 general election and launched a movement to overthrow the PTI government that succeeded through a no-confidence motion in early 2022. The nation witnessed acute political turmoil and suffered the worst economic repercussions of a tenacious political dogfight over the past 10 months.

After the dissolution of both provincial assemblies, the coalition government tried to delay the electoral process for multiple administrative and political reasons while Assemblies undoers tried to regain power in both provinces in the same manner at the earliest. Apparently, both governors toed their parties’ policies while President received instructions from Lahore’s Zaman park in the making up of the upheaval. Thus, President and the Governors did not maintain the protocol and prestige of their offices and used their positions to further their party politics. Later, warring groups tried to persuade the apex court in their favor through blackmail and character assassination of adjudicators and their counsels, which is a highly condemnable action.

Now the court has issued a clear verdict that should be viewed in a positive sense by the competing groups as state affairs could not be run according to the selfish desires of the political elite. The country can not afford further political instability and disagreement that is poisonous for the already extremely volatile economy. Realistically, both parties failed to deliver to the public. Therefore, politicians must forgive the poor masses and resort to constructive political activity. So, the nation comes out of the current political havoc and moves toward stability and growth.