Islamabad: The crucial decision of the Supreme Court ordering the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to hold early elections in the Punjab province on May 14, has prompted celebrations among the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), while angering the sitting government.
After the court’s decision on Tuesday, PTI supporters sprung into celebratory mood terming the decision as historic.
The Imran Khan-led party maintained that the move has buried the “Doctrine of Necessity” for good.
A three-judge bench of the court accepted the PTI’s constitutional petition and rejected justifications issued by the election supervisory authority for its inability to hold the polls at the moment.
“The country’s top court has buried the Doctrine of Necessity for good. We are proud that the nation still has people who can deliver verdicts based on the Constitution and conscience,” said PTI vice chairman and former foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi.
Meanwhile, the ruling coalition government is severely irked by the top court’s decision and has become vocal in expressing its dismay over the ruling.
The government expressed its serious reservations over the verdict in the federal cabinet and also in the National Assembly, calling the decision as “against the principle of propriety of Justice”, which it stated would further worsen the political crisis in the country.
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif equated the verdict with the “judicial murder” of late premier Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto.
“Justice has one again been murdered today,” he said.
The government has termed the verdict as an “impractical order”, implementation of which would become a serious challenge in view of the security and economic challenges the country is faced with.
Sources with knowledge of the discussion on the federal cabinet, revealed that the government representatives are seeing the verdict as judiciary attempt go into confrontational mode against the government, whose demand for formation of a full-bench was rejected by the court.
“It was decided that the government could not endorse the top court dictating the ECP to hold the polls while disregarding all the aspects raised by the ruling coalition government. The cabinet agreed that holding the elections was responsibility of the ECP and it could not be dictated,” the sources highlighted.
The government has decided to extend its recommendations of the future course of action in view of the verdict after closed-door consultations with its legal team.
For the government, the decision is part of the judiciary’s extended facilitation to former premier Imran Khan, which it stated was “unacceptable”.