Will elections stalemate finally end? CJP Bandial clings to hope of successful talks.

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The Chief Justice of Pakistan, Umar Ata Bandial, has said that negotiations between the coalition government and the opposition Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) could break the deadlock over holding elections in the country. The matter was discussed as a three-member bench of the Supreme Court heard a plea from the Election Commission of Pakistan to revisit its April 4 order to hold provincial elections in Punjab on May 14 for a week. During the hearing, Bandial called for all parties to be heard, including the provincial governments and other political parties, and said that negotiations must happen. The PTI dissolved its governments in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab in January, which led to the deadlock. According to the Constitution, once a provincial assembly is dissolved prior to completing its term, general elections must be held within 90 days of dissolution. The Supreme Court ordered the holding of polls in Punjab on May 14 but the government did not release the required funds. As a result, the court directed the State Bank of Pakistan to provide the funds to the Election Commission, whose plea for a review of the court’s April 4 order is currently being heard.

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