by Nuzhat Nazar
ISLAMABAD: Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday restored Prime Minister’s Rs 341 billion Kissan relief package and revoked the suspension order of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP). On September 29, the ECP suspended the implementation of three components of the Kisaan package announced by PM Nawaz Sharif ahead of local government elections.
A division bench comprising Justice Noorul Haq N. Qureshi and Justice Aamir Farooq announced a short order remanding the matter to the ECP for further necessary action. Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) Salman Aslam Butt argued that as per section 218 of election laws, the ECP was required to take the decision of suspension of the Kissan package after consulting political parties.
The AGP further argued that the aim of the Kissan relief package was not to affect local elections and that the ECP cannot prevent the federal government from fulfilling its legal and constitutional responsibility. The petition further argued that the package was to be implemented in all the four provinces including KP and Balochistan where local bodies elections have already been held and it was announced after due consultation with the farming communities and the provincial governments. The relief package is not the brainchild of a single person or a political party, the petition stated.
The ECP through its lawyer Mohammad Munir Paracha argued that the ECP restrained the federal government from implementing the package to ensure transparent local bodies elections. He contended that the ECP was not required to consult political parties while preparing election code of conduct as political parties’ order 2002 is not relevant to the local bodies’ elections. The court however observed that the notification the ECP had issued for suspension of the Kissan package had referred to the political parties’ order under which the ECP needs to consult political parties before evolving a code of conduct.
During the hearing before the court, the ECP was represented by a single lawyer advocate Paracha. Whereas the panel of lawyers of the federal government included SGP Butt, additional attorney general (AAG) Mohammad Waqar Rana, AAG Afnan Karim Kundi, deputy attorney general (DAG) Arshad Jadoon, DAG Husnain Ibrahim Kazmi, DAG Asad Rajput and standing counsel Mohammad Khalid Raja.
Source: Business Recorder