Islamabad: Pakistan’s Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial warned on Wednesday that the Supreme Court would intervene if there was any indication that elections were not being held in a “transparent” manner. Bandyal made the remarks after a three-judge bench began hearing a petition against the transfer of Lahore police chief Ghulam Mahmood Dogar.
During the hearing, the Chief Justice said that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) was a constitutional body and would be “offered security” to conduct free elections in the country.
Chief Justice Bandyal said, “The commission has powers under the Constitution. Its objective is to conduct transparent elections. If there is any malafide intention to conduct transparent elections, we will intervene.”
Lahore capital city police officer (CCPO) Dogar was transferred to Islamabad in September last year, but his transfer was canceled and he was reinstated as Lahore CCPO by the Supreme Court on December 2, 2022 .
Later, he was replaced as CCPO with Bilal Siddiqui Kamyana on January 23 and also sent to Islamabad, but the apex court again intervened on February 17 to stop his repatriation to the federal capital.
The court took this action because according to the law, once the election is announced, transfer and posting cannot be done. The Punjab Assembly was dissolved in January and elections were to be held on April 30.
The top court’s warning to ensure fair and free polls comes as the government and the opposition are bitterly fighting to hold elections in a timely and transparent manner to make them acceptable to all.
Commenting on a series of audio leaks in recent weeks, Bandial said the apex court was being “maligned through audio tapes”.
“Those audio tapes are of no value,” he said.