Supreme Court Will Intervene If There Is Ill Intent In Holding Transparent Elections, Warns Pakistan Chief Justice
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial on Wednesday warned that the Supreme Court would intervene if there was any indication that elections were not being held in a “transparent” manner. Bandial made the remarks as a three-member bench resumed hearing a petition against the transfer of Lahore police chief Ghulam Mahmood Dogar.
During the hearing, the chief justice said that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) was a constitutional body and would be “offered protection” for holding free elections in the country.
“The commission has powers under the Constitution. Its purpose is to conduct transparent polls. We will intervene if there is any ill intention in holding transparent polls,” Chief Justice Bandial said.
Dogar, the Lahore capital city police officer (CCPO), was transferred to Islamabad in September last year but his transfer was canceled and he was reinstated as the Lahore CCPO by the Supreme Court on December 2, 2022.
Later, he was replaced as CCPO on January 23 with Bilal Siddique Kamyana and also sent to Islamabad, but the top court again intervened on February 17 to stop his repatriation to the federal capital.
The action was taken by the court as by law no transfer and posting can be made once elections have been announced. The Punjab assembly was dissolved in January and elections were due to be held on April 30.
The warning to ensure fair and free elections by the apex court comes as the government and opposition are bitterly fighting over holding the elections timely and in a transparent manner to make them acceptable to everyone.
Commenting on a series of audio leaks in recent weeks, Bandial said the apex court was being “defamed through audio tapes”.
“Those audio tapes have no significance,” he added.