PHC issues decision on PTI’s contempt petition, emphasises fair elections

PHC verdict
  • Justice Ijaz Anwar’s five-page judgment highlights ECP’s constitutional responsibility and Chief Secretary’s commitment to a level playing field

PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court (PHC) has issued a written decision on Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) contempt of court petition against not being allowed to hold a workers’ convention. The five-page judgment, crafted by Justice Ijaz Anwar, underscores the constitutional responsibility of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and emphasizes the caretaker government’s obligation to facilitate transparent and legal elections.

The judgment clearly states that the ECP is constitutionally mandated to ensure elections are conducted in a transparent and legal manner. As part of the decision, the court directs the ECP to demand a daily status report from District Officers and report to the Chief Secretary if any political party is being discriminated against in any district.

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Furthermore, the decision asserts that the caretaker government is legally bound to assist the ECP in the electoral process but should refrain from actions that might influence the fairness of the election. The court took note of PTI’s repeated complaints about workers facing legal challenges and being denied a level playing field.

During the proceedings, Chief Secretary assured the court that Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) based on court orders have been established. The Chief Secretary expressed determination to provide a level playing field to all political parties, a commitment that was noted and appreciated by the court.

The judgment reveals that the ECP’s counsel informed the court about a letter written to the caretaker prime minister’s principal secretary on November 22, urging a fair playing field for all political parties. The court expressed satisfaction with the Chief Secretary’s commitment and emphasised that fair and transparent elections are the constitutional responsibility of the ECP.

The decision concludes by reiterating that all political parties, including PTI, should be given a level playing field without discrimination. The Chief Secretary is directed to take action against any officer involved in actions that may impact the fairness of the elections. With these directives and assurances, the contempt petition is declared disposed of by the court, highlighting a step toward ensuring fair and transparent electoral processes in the region.

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