By Justice Markandey Katju
In the present crisis in Pakistan, a demand has been raised, mainly by the ruling PDM leaders and its members, that elections to the National and Provincial Assemblies be held together. The Pakistan Senate has also passed a resolution to this effect, and the real motive of all this is to avoid the Pakistan Supreme Court verdict that elections to the Punjab Assembly be held on 14th May.
Is this demand valid? I submit it is not.
Pakistan’s Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah has said elections will not be held on 14th May, jitni marzi zor laga len, and there should be simultaneous elections for the National and Provincial Assemblies.
The same view has been expressed by former Attorney General Irfan Qadir
However, there is no provision in Pakistan’s Constitution that the National and Provincial Assembly elections must be held together.
Apart from that, there is another problem in holding both elections together.
Article 52 of Pakistan’s Constitution states :
”The National Assembly shall, unless sooner dissolved, continue for a term of five years from the day of its first meeting and shall stand dissolved at the expiration of its term ”.
Similarly Article 107 states :
”The Provincial Assembly shall, unless sooner dissolved, continue for a term of five years from the day of its first meeting and shall stand dissolved at the expiration of its term ”.
Now suppose a Provincial Assembly, for some reason, is dissolved prematurely, say, one year after its first meeting, but the National Assembly is not dissolved, and has yet to complete another 4 years. Will there be no Provincial Assembly for 4 years? Or should the National Assembly and other Provincial Assemblies be also dissolved?
But Article 224(2) of Pakistan’s Constitution states :
” When the National Assembly or a Provincial Assembly is dissolved, a general election to the Assembly shall be held within a period of ninety days after the dissolution, and the results of the election shall be declared not later than fourteen days after the conclusion of the polls”.
This provision is very clear, and it makes it obvious that both National and Provincial Assembly elections cannot be held together where either the National or the Provincial Assembly was dissolved prematurely.
The Punjab Provincial Assembly was dissolved prematurely on 14th January 2023, and hence in view of Article 224(2) elections to it had to be held by 14th April, and they could not be validly postponed to the time when the National Assembly completes its term in August, and elections are to be held for it in October.
I submit that for meeting the demand for holding elections simultaneously, the Constitution has to be amended, and until that is done, the demand is not tenable.
The truth is that this demand is a specious excuse and pretext by the PDM for opposing the Pakistan Supreme Court verdict of 4th April that elections to the Punjab Assembly must be held on 14th May.
The PDM knows it will be routed in the elections ( as all opinion polls indicate ), so it is determined that elections will not be held on 14th May, come what may ( jitni marzi zor laga len ). The demand for simultaneous elections is really a frivolous excuse for not accepting the Court verdict.
However, every day’s delay in holding the elections is another nail in the coffin of the PDM. The Pakistani people are not fools. They know that Imran Khan is basically honest, while the PDM are a gang of dacoits ( as the Panama Papers and other sources disclose ), and that is why PDM is opposing elections to avoid facing the wrath of the people and being routed at the polls.
However, elections cannot be avoided forever. The more they are delayed the more will public anger against the PDM rise, and therefore the closer is the latter to committing suicide.
हमें गूगल न्यूज पर फॉलो करें. ट्विटर पर फॉलो करें. वाट्सएप पर संदेश पाएं. हस्तक्षेप की आर्थिक मदद करें