A three-member bench led by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial resumed hearing the election delay suo motu at 11:30 am today (Thursday) after political parties failed to start a dialogue to decide on a date for elections, as instructed by the Supreme Court.
The court had instructed political parties to have talks on April 26 and develop a response by April 27 after providing stakeholders a chance to come to an understanding at the last hearing.
Since the decree was binding on all authorities and the election date of May 14 was still in effect, political parties had been required to make a decision promptly.
Political parties and the public are on edge, awaiting the court’s next move, because no talks took place and the administration also refused to follow the April 4 directive.
As a result of the Chief Justice of Pakistan’s absence, who was supposed to preside over a three-member bench with Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhel to hear ordinary cases, there was much concern on Wednesday morning. The top court then amended the roster for Bench-I for the day. However, the bench was delisted as a result of the CJP’s ill health.
Due to the CJP’s absence, many solicitors were left to speculate as to whether the matter about the election delay that was set to be heard on Thursday will be heard or not. When it became known that senior judges Justice Qazi Faez Isa and Justice Sardar Tariq Masood, who make up Bench-II, were both unavailable, the rumors gained momentum.
However, the speculations were ultimately put to rest when it was made clear in a notification made in the afternoon that the CJP-led bench would only take up the issue involving the delay in the election and spend the remainder of the day in chambers.