IHC rejects PM, Asad Umar’s plea to suspend ECP’s notice

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Friday rejected Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan and Minister of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar’s plea to suspend the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) notice against them today for partaking in a rally related to the local body polls in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The ECP on March 11 had issued a notice to the Prime Minister and several other PTI leaders for attending a public gathering in Lower Dir, with the notice being challenged in the IHC on Thursday.

Representing the prime and federal minister in today’s hearing, Barrister Ali Zafar told Justice Amir Farooq, who heard the case, that on February 19, Elections (Amendment) Ordinance 2022 had been promulgated that allowed public officeholders to partake in election campaigns.

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However, he said that the ECP had, on March 10, called a meeting and passed an order that barred the publicofficeholders from taking part in election rallies and campaigns.

At this, Justice Farooq remarked that the government was “bypassing the Parliament and taking support of ordinances to get things done.”

“With due respect, you [government] have established an ordinance factory; the work of the parliament is being done through ordinances,” the judge said.

The IHC judge said that the Constitution’s Article 218 has authorized the ECP to conduct free and fair elections. “And the Election Commission has given its reference [in their order].”

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The judge wondered whether constitutional rights could be revoked by introducing various laws.”The Constitution has given a mandate which cannot be overruled through an act of the Parliament.”

Justice Farooq told the Barrister Zafar that his clients should have appeared before the commission on March 14 as it had summoned them for the violation of election rules and also warned them of action.

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