LAHORE: Former prime minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan has announced to kick off election campaign from Saturday following the Supreme Court (SC) verdict of elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) to be held within 90 days, ARY News reported on Wednesday.
Addressing a press conference via video link, the former premier said that he would address the public gathering during the election campaign, saying that he would announce the PTI’s next plan of action on Saturday.
Imran Khan welcomed the Supreme Court’s 3-2 verdict of elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to be held within 90 days, saying that the judiciary has fulfilled its responsibility to uphold the Constitution through their judgment today.
“We have embarked on the path that will make Pakistan a great nation,” he said, adding that the country would have been a developed country if such kind of justice had existed before.
The former prime minister emphasised that the nation’s development and prosperity was interlinked with justice, citing examples of developed countries.
Apparently referring to the government, he lambasted the ‘mafia’ for violating basic human rights, saying that his government was ousted through external conspiracy. “They [the incumbent rulers] tried their best to remain in power without seeking public opinion,” he added.
The Supreme Court, in a 3-2 verdict, ruled on Wednesday that elections in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab should be held within 90 days.
CJP Justice Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Munib Akhtar and Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar supported the verdict, while Justice Jamal Mandokhail and Justice Mansoor Ali Shah opposed the admissibility of the suo moto notice and dissented from the majority verdict.
Justice Shah and Justice Mandokhail in their dissenting notes agreed with the position of Justice Yahya Afridi and Justice Athar Minallah. “The matter was already being heard in the high courts, Supreme Court cannot take suo moto notice on the undertrial cases in the high courts.”
The short verdict stated that the Election Commission of Pakistan failed in discharging its role in the election. The announcement of the election date in KP is the responsibility of the provincial governor, while the president has the authority as per law and constitution to fix the election date in Punjab.
The verdict further stated a consultation to fix the date of elections in Punjab, if they are not possible on April 9, the date announced by the president.