Islamabad: Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has convened a meeting of the National Security Council (NSC) for Friday, amid the widening chasm between the judiciary and the federal government over holding polls in the country’s politically crucial Punjab province.
Pakistan’s parliament on Thursday passed a resolution rejecting the country’s Supreme Court’s decision about the Punjab elections delay case and demanded a full court to decide on this vexing issue.
A three-member bench of the apex court led by Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial on Tuesday fixed May 14 as the new date for elections to the Punjab Assembly, as it quashed the Election Commission of Pakistan’s decision to extend the polls date from April 10 to October 8.
The top civil and military leadership will participate in the NSC meeting while the heads of the country’s intelligence agencies will brief the participants on the national security situation, according to The Express Tribune newspaper.
The meeting is scheduled to take place at 11am on Friday at the Prime Minister House, the report said.
The NSC is a federal institutional and consultative body chaired by the Prime Minister of Pakistan as its chairman.
It is a principal forum that is mandated for considering national security and foreign policy matters with the senior national security advisers and Cabinet ministers.
In the latest development, the National Assembly or the lower house passed a resolution to reject the decision of the apex court.
The resolution was moved by lawmaker Khalid Magsi of Balochistan Awami Party which is part of the ruling coalition and it was adopted by the lower house.
It called upon the Prime Minister Sharif and the federal cabinet not to implement this judgment as it is contrary to the Constitution.
The resolution came after Sharif addressing the cabinet meeting on Wednesday described the apex court’s decision as a “mockery of the Constitution and law,” and added that it could not be implemented.
His idea was supported by the National Assembly, showing the bitter divide over the date of election in Punjab where the assembly was dissolved on January 13 and the polls should be held within 90 days.
The federal government asserts that it has powers to delay the polls and hold it with the general elections in the country after August this year.
However, former prime minister Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party has been pushing for early polls and demanding that instead of delaying the elections in the Punjab province, the national assembly should be dissolved and general elections called in the country.