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CJP Affirms Equal Ground in Elections: Courts Backing Every Political Party for a Fair Contest

Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa asserted that the courts support every political party in elections as the Supreme Court heard the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party’s contempt plea against the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

The three-member bench, led by CJP Isa, included Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar and Justice Musarrat Hilali, and the proceedings were live-streamed on the apex court’s website.

The PTI’s contempt plea accused the electoral body of violating Supreme Court directives for a fair playing field in the upcoming polls. The court had earlier instructed the ECP to promptly address the PTI’s concerns to ensure a smooth and transparent electoral process.

In a recent application, PTI Chairman Barrister Gohar Khan sought contempt proceedings against the ECP for non-compliance with the court’s orders issued on December 22. Tensions had escalated between the PTI and the ECP, particularly after the commission temporarily stripped the party of its symbol, a decision later suspended by the Peshawar High Court.

During the hearing, PTI leaders highlighted the rejection of their nomination papers and requested expedited resolution. The CJP directed the Punjab Inspector General, provincial advocate general, and chief secretary to submit a report on the ECP’s compliance with the court’s directives, and the case was adjourned until January 8.

The PTI’s counsel, Latif Khosa, faced questioning from the bench about approaching the ECP on the court’s verdict and whether the electoral body had issued any new directives. The CJP emphasized the need for legal and constitutional arguments rather than political lectures.

The CJP expressed displeasure at including inspector generals as respondents in the plea and advised the PTI to file a separate plea for action against individuals. He reiterated the option to appeal rejected nomination papers and suggested the PTI approach the election tribunal and then the Supreme Court if necessary.

The court summoned ECP officials to clarify the status of compliance with the court’s directives. Khosa urged an adjournment, prompting the CJP to instruct the PTI counsel to respond to the ECP’s report and provide details of events after December 26.

The CJP emphasized the importance of transparent elections and noted that the PTI had not made specific allegations in the contempt plea. He highlighted the strong order issued on December 22 and asked if the PTI had filed any complaints with the ECP after that date.

The hearing revealed the complexities surrounding the rejection of PTI nomination papers, with the court directing further submissions and reports to be filed. The case will resume on January 8.

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