Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial on Thursday urged the ruling alliance (PDM) and the opposition (PTI) to sit together for talks on elections for the sake of the Constitution.
Following the Supreme Court’s emphasis on negotiations, talks between the Ruling Alliance (PDM) and Opposition (PTI) will begin at the Senate secretariat by 6pm.
PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Fawad Chaudhry and Senator Ali Zafar will represent PTI in the talks while the ruling alliance have not finalised any committee for the negotiation process.
JUI-F, A key alliance of PDM government would not take part in talks with opposition, sources say.
Chairman Senate Offer
Earlier in the day, Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani decided to form a 10-member parliamentary committee for talks on holding elections across the country on the same date.
In a letter written to Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and PTI senator Shehzad Waseem, the Senate chairman has asked both leaders to give four names for the formation of committee to address the ongoing political and economic crisis including the holding of general elections.
“The Senate of Pakistan; House of Federation, being a stabilising factor of the federation is constitutionally bestowed with the responsibility of protecting the national and political harmony vis-a-vis the national and public interest,” he wrote.
Sanjrani added that a 10-member special committee for holding political dialogue is being constituted under the joint convenership of the Leader of the House in the Senate and Leader of the Opposition in the Senate and comprising four members each from the treasury and opposition benches.
He further mentioned that his office and the Senate will be available to facilitate the talks. He then asked Waseem to provide, on the PTI’s behalf, the names of four members from the opposition benches, to be made part of the committee in two days.
PTI holds Three Member committee
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan on Thursday constituted a three-member committee for negotiations with the government.
The committee comprised PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Fawad Chaudhry and Senator Ali Zafar. The committee will negotiate with the government regarding holding elections on the same day across the country.
The move comes after federal ministers and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leaders Azam Nazeer Tarar and Saad Rafique yesterday contacted Senate Chairman for talks with opposition – Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).
The ministers proposed to constitute five-member committees of opposition and government from upper house of Parliament. They also sought place in Parliament House for negotiations, sources claimed.
Supreme Court Hearing
In todays hearing Chief Justice of Pakistan said that no additional time will be given, Court will announce the appropriate verdict today and wont gave any further timeline.
Chief Justice remarked “Please for the sake of the Constitution sit with each other.”
“The court cannot force [parties] on a dialogue. The court only wants implementation on the Constitution so that the dispute is resolved,” the top judge added. He said that the court did not need any clarification but a solution to the issue.
On talks in Senate, the CJP stated that the it will take time for the chairman to summon a meeting.
“The court provided an opportunity to the political parties for the sake of national interest. [However] PTI has not been contacted [as of yet],” said Qureshi.
CJP Bandial then remarked that one has to be patient in the matter of negotiations.“The court has not made an order it’s just an advice. If there is no consensus for the sake of national interest and Constitution then things will remain as they are,” said CJP Bandial. He also wondered why there was delay in proposing names of representatives for talks and asked whether the government had proposed its five names.
While wrapping up the hearing for today, CJP Bandial remarked that the court will not issue any directives nor will it issue a timeline for the talks. However, he added that the court will issue an appropriate order and order is issued by today.
Vote of Confidence
Some sources said that, The National Assembly Secretariat ‘directed’ to prepare supplementary agenda as Prime Minister (PM) Shehbaz Sharif is considering to take a vote of confidence from the Parliament.
The coalition partners of the incumbent government proposed PM Shehbaz Sharif to seek vote of confidence from NA amid the Supreme Court’s deadline regarding general elections in Punjab.
All the treasury benches members have been directed to ensure their attendance in today’s NA session. The decision to take a vote of confidence will be taken after SC’s verdict in the polls delay case.
Supreme Court (SC) on in its ver4th April verdict declares the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) 22nd March order to postpone Elections in Punjab null and void ordering to hold poll by 14th of May.
A three-member bench heading by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Munib Akhtar — announced the reserved verdict on the PTI’s petition challenging the Election Commission of Pakistan’s order postponing the elections in Punjab and KP.
The Supreme Court declared the ECP’s order postponing the provincial assembly elections until 8th October as “unconstitutional” and ordered the government to release Rs21 billion funds for elections in Punjab by April 10.
The top court also directed to conduct Punjab polls on May 14. The SC further directed the caretaker government in Punjab to assist the commission.
Supreme Court also directed Pak Army to provide security for the upcoming elections and also orders to ECP to hold elections.
However, the National Assembly later passed a resolution rejecting the three-member Supreme Court bench’s verdict on the Punjab polls, stating that it would not provide funds to the ECP for polls.
The electoral watch dog informed the Top court that it had not received the required funds from the ministry after which the three-member bench directed the State bank to release funds “directly”.
Earlier in Federal Meeting The deputy governor SBP Seema Kamil said they have allocated Rs.21 billion for the Punjab elections as per the Supreme Court’s ruling, but the central bank does not has the authority to release the funds directly.
Meanwhile, State Minister for Finance and Revenue Aisha Ghaus Pasha emphasised that the SBP cannot spend money without the permission of the parliament.
“If the National Assembly allows funds can be released [to the ECP],” she said, clarifying that even the Finance Division cannot spend without seeking permission from the cabinet and the lower house.