LHC forms eight election tribunals



The Lahore High Court (LHC) Chief Justice Malik Shahzad Ahmad Khan on Wednesday constituted eight election tribunals for hearing pleas related to the polls in Punjab, in line with its verdict on a writ petition filed by two PTI-backed candidates. The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has decided to challenge the move.

Hearing the petitions filed by PTI leaders Salman Akram Raja and Rao Omar Hashim Khan, Justice Shahid Karim of the LHC recently ordered the ECP to notify six more election

tribunals for Punjab within one week according to a list of judges sent by the LHC chief justice. The judge further nullified the notification granting the ECP the authority to assign cases to the tribunals.

Following the order, Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja announced that the ECP would challenge the decision. As the ECP was reluctant to comply with the LHC’s directives, the high court’s chief justice announced the formation of the tribunals himself. The LHC chief justice also assigned the tribunals their jurisdictions.

According to the notification, Justice Shahid Karim, Justice Chaudhry Muhammad Iqbal, Justice Anwaar Hussain, and Justice Sultan Tanvir Ahmad will hear the election petitions at the principal seat of the LHC in Lahore.

The tribunal presided over by Justice Karim will hear election petitions from Gujranwala, Gujrat (with the exception of Sarai Alamgir), Hafizabad, Mandi Bahauddin, and Narowal. Similarly, Faisalabad, Chiniot, Toba Tek Singh, Jhang, Pakpattan, Okara, Sargodha, and Khushab fall within the jurisdiction of the tribunal presided over by Justice Iqbal.

The tribunal presided over by Justice Anwaar Hussain will hear pleas filed in Lahore. Likewise, Kasur, Sheikhupura, Nankana Sahib, and Sialkot fall within the jurisdiction of the tribunal presided over by Justice Sultan Tanvir Ahmad.

A tribunal presided over by Justice Asim Hafeez has been notified for the LHC’s Bahawalpur bench. The areas that fall under its jurisdiction include Bahawalpur, Bahawalnagar, Rahimyar Khan, and Lodhran.

Two tribunals have been formed for the LHC’s Multan bench. The areas falling under the jurisdiction of the tribunal presided over by Justice Sardar Muhammad Sarfraz Dogar include Dera Ghazi Khan, Layyah, Muzaffargarh, and Rajanpur. The tribunal presided over by Justice Rajeel Kamran will take up pleas filed from Multan, Bhakkar, Khanewal, Vehari, and Sahiwal.

A tribunal has been set up for the LHC’s Rawalpindi bench presided over by Justice Mirza Viqas Rauf. It will take up pleas filed from Rawalpindi, Jhelum, Chakwal, Attock, Mianwali, and Sarai Alamgir tehsil.

A day earlier, Islamabad High Court (IHC) Chief Justice Aamer Farooq stopped the new election tribunals formed by the ECP for the federal capital from hearing election petitions.

Both the LHC and the IHC are also hearing similar pleas filed by the PTI challenging the amendments to the Election Act (Amendment) Ordinance, 2024.

This presidential decree allowed the appointment of retired judges to election tribunals without the approval of a provincial chief justice.

Following the LHC’s notification, the ECP has decided to engage in a legal battle against the move. Sources said the commission has called a meeting of its legal team today (Thursday) for consultation prior to filing an intra-court appeal in the LHC to challenge the decision.

Under Section 140 of the Election Act, 2017 the ECP has the authority to establish tribunals. According to its Sub Section 3, the commission will appoint the election tribunal after consulting with the chief justice of the relevant provincial high court.

On the other hand, the ECP has issued a notification for the establishment of two election tribunals for Rawalpindi, Islamabad, and Bahawalpur Division.

As per the notification, Justice (retd) Abdul Shakoor Paracha has been appointed to the election tribunal for Rawalpindi and Islamabad. For Bahawalpur Division, the election tribunal will be presided over by Justice (retd) Zafar Iqbal Chaudhry.


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