A new four-member Supreme Court (SC) bench resumed hearing Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) petition against the Election Commission of Pakistan’s decision to delay polls to the Punjab Assembly; however, Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail has distanced himself from the bench.  Justice Aminuddin Khan also withdrew himself from the bench stating he was a signatory to an order issued by a different bench, proposing the postponement of all cases instituted under Article 184(3) of the Constitution.  A new bench was formed retaining four judges, excluding Justice Khan.  As soon as proceedings began, Justice Mandokhail announced his withdrawal from the bench, stating that he believed he was a “misfit” in the new bench.  Reacting to the events, Defence Minister, Khawaja Asif, has called for a full-court bench hearing the Punjab poll delay case.  PTI’s petition pleads that the ECP’s decision was in violation of the Constitution and tantamount to amending and subverting it.  PTI sought directions for the federal government to ensure law and order, provisions of funds and security personnel as per the ECP’s need to hold the elections, and asked the court to direct the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa governor to announce the date for elections to the provincial assembly.

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