There has been a division within the Islamabad High Court Bar Association (IHCBA) regarding the filing of a constitutional petition regarding the announcement of election dates by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and the governors of Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
Saad Ahmad, the secretary of the IHCBA, dissented from filing the petition on the grounds that no authorization had been granted by the executive body. He strongly objected to a statement issued by IHCBA President Shoaib Shaheen regarding the petition.
The Secretary of the Bar Association stated that the organization is committed to bringing positive change to society through political means, including self-accountability and commitment to remain steadfast. However, this does not mean that the offices are associated with or carry the objectives of a specific political party. According to a recent press release issued by the President, the bar association is backed and bankrolled by political parties. Accordingly, the Secretary’s office has decided to distance itself from the statement.
The petition was filed by the President of the IHCBA through Abid Zuberi, the President of the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA). Both lawyers are members of the Professional Lawyers Group, also known as the Hamid Khan Group, which is closely associated with the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party. Meanwhile, the Independent Lawyers Group, also known as the Asma Group, is closely affiliated with the opposition-led government.
In addition, a legal debate has begun regarding the delay of the elections for the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab assemblies.
Salman Akram Raja, a renowned lawyer, opined that holding provincial and federal elections at the same time would violate the Constitution. Advocate Salahuddin Ahmed agreed and added that there is no requirement for federal and provincial elections to be held together in the Constitution.
According to another lawyer, holding federal and provincial elections together has been a tradition since 1973. In addition, he stated that the issue at hand is more of an economic constraint than a political or constitutional one.