Pak’s top judge questions utility and purpose of caretaker governments

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Islamabad, Oct 25: Pakistan’s Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa has questioned the utility and purpose of having caretaker governments while noting that the responsibility of holding free and fair elections lies with the Election Commission and not the interim setup.

 

The top judge made the remarks on Tuesday while hearing a case related to holding timely elections in the country, the Express Tribune newspaper reported.

 

Pakistan, which is currently being run by the caretaker government led by Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar, is expected to go to polls in January next year. Caretaker governments are also ruling Punjab, Balochistan, Sindh and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa provinces.

 

“One objective of a caretaker government is to ensure transparent elections. However, the responsibility for transparent elections lies with another institution (ECP) as per the Constitution,” Chief Justice Isa said.

 

“When this responsibility is vested in the ECP (Election Commission of Pakistan), what is the need for a caretaker government?” he questioned.

 

Justice Isa, who was leading a three-member bench, noted that the person military dictator General Zia-ul Haq who introduced the idea of caretaker government in the Constitution did not implement it himself.

 

“Zia induced the idea through the Eight Constitutional Amendment but when the government of Mohammad Khan Junejo was dismissed, a caretaker government was not formed. There have been two elections in the country without a caretaker government,” he said.

 

The chief justice also traced the history of caretaker set-ups in Pakistan, starting from the dismissal of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto’s first government to the dissolution of assemblies by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz-led coalition in August, the Dawn newspaper reported.

 

He observed that the constitutional amendment with regard to caretaker government was made in haste. However, he noted that it was for Parliament to look into this matter.

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