South Asia and Beyond

Poll Delay Hearing: Nawaz Sharif Targets Chief Justice

 Poll Delay Hearing: Nawaz Sharif Targets Chief Justice

On a day Pakistan’s Supreme Court rejected a request by the government to form a full court to hear the Opposition PTI’s petition against delay in holding Punjab Assembly polls, PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif hit out at the top judiciary. Hearing of the case continued on Friday even after two judges on the five-member bench recused themselves. Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial observed that neither the law nor rules mentioned the composition of a full court, and the court would not return to the start as the matter was being heard since Monday. “Why this zid (stubbornness)? Why the insistence that only three judges will be on the bench? This is a national issue,” Sharif told a press conference in London. Earlier this week, parliament passed a bill that will curb the Chief Justice’s discretionary powers when it comes to taking suo motu notice or forming benches in an individual capacity. The bill now awaits the President’s assent. In 2017, a Supreme Court bench disqualified then PM Nawaz Sharif from office on the grounds that he lied about his assets during a corruption probe linked to Panama Papers. “Are all decisions and benches for Imran Khan? Doesn’t it warrant a suo motu (notice) that Nawaz Sharif was treated unjustly,” asked Nawaz, according to Dawn.


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