IHC suspends ECP order changing tribunal

Court issues contempt notice to PML-N MNA

Fiaz Mahmood June 25, 2024
Islamabad High Court (IHC). PHOTO: Express/File


The Islamabad High Court on Monday suspended the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) June 10 order to change the federal capital’s election tribunal.

IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq heard the petitions of PTI candidates Shoaib Shaheen and Ali Bukhari challenging the ongoing proceedings related to the Election Amendment Ordinance as well as Advocate Ali Bukhari’s miscellaneous plea against the ECP’s order to change the election tribunal.

The additional attorney general (AAG) sought time to prepare his response to defend the ordinance.

The IHC CJ asked him how he would defend this ordinance and also inquired about the urgency under which it was issued overnight.

“[Why don’t you] abolish parliament and run the government through ordinances,” the judge added sarcastically.

“You people have set up an ordinance factory, one is the Wah factory and the other is an ordinance factory, Wah factory makes weapons and you make ordinances. What was the bias against the judge that the election commission saw?”

Rejecting the explanation of PML-N MNA Anjum Aqeel Khan for using insulting words and accusations about the judge in his application for the change of tribunal, the court issued him a contempt notice.

Addressing the PML-N MNA, the IHC CJ remarked whether he wanted the judge of the tribunal to be changed because he was not paying heed to his undue recommendations.

Apologising to the court, the PML-N MNA replied that he had signed the application without reading it.

“I admit that my English is weak … this is written in legal language. This is my mistake, I signed without reading these words. I made an application for the transfer of the case,” he added.

Justice Farooq told Anjum that his petition was about the judge being biased.

“You are a parliamentarian, you have to legislate, why did you accuse the judge?” the IHC CJ inquired.

Anjum replied that there was an “unintentional” mistake in his choice of words. He also denied making any undue recommendations.

Following these remarks, the IHC suspended the ECP’s order to change the Islamabad election tribunal.

The court issued a contempt notice to Anjum and adjourned the hearing until July 9.

The IHC also ordered the PML-N MNA to ensure his presence at every hearing of the case.

In the last hearing as well, the IHC CJ expressed his displeasure over the change of the election tribunal in Islamabad.

“Why the tribunal has been changed? The government should explain to me why this amendment, which was abolished years ago, has been brought through an ordinance now,” the judge remarked.

“How can the acting president issue an ordinance? What was the emergency that the ordinance came overnight? Let the system remain a system.”

Justice Farooq noted that the tribunal in Islamabad was formed after consultation with him.


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