ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court Tuesday restored the Election Commission of Pakistan’s code of conduct that bars prime minister, chief minister, ministers, MNAs and MPAs to participate in campaign of upcoming bye and LB elections.

The court remanded the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf petitions to Lahore High Court with the direction to club them as the issue involved is the same. It also ordered the registrar LHC to fix the petitions before a bench next week, while the high court directed to decide the matter after hearing Attorney General within one month.

The bench said, the high court while issuing judgment on May 25 did not issue notice to AGP in view of the Order 27-A of Civil Procedure Code.

The court has observed that the high court had set aside the ECP’s May 7 notification because it is violative of the Articles 15, 16, 17 etc of the constitution. It is to be noted here that Mansoor Sarwar Khan, president PTI Central region Punjab, had challenged the commission’s code of conduct before the LHC. The high court on May 25 set aside the ECP’s notification regarding the code of conduct.

When the ECP challenged the high court’s verdict before the apex court it on September 8 suspended the LHC’s order and restored the commission’s code. The SC had issued notices to respondents and adjourned the hearing until October 13.

Despite the SC’s stay order, the LHC on September 22 again suspended that ECP’s notification.

Ibrahim Satti advocate, representing ECP, submitted that it is a matter of contempt of court because despite SC’s order, the high court had passed the order. Upon this, the court asked him to file a contempt petition in this matter. However, the counsel stated that ECP is a constitutional body which cannot file contempt petition.

Satti further told that the LHC had passed the order because there was no counsel on behalf of the ECP and no notice was issued to AGP in view of Oder 27-A of CPC. The bench said that the notice to AGP was mandatory in this matter because the high court had interpreted several articles in the judgment.

After the consent of Ibrahim Satti and the counsel for PTI leader Hamid Khan, the bench set aside the high court’s earlier orders and again sent the matter to it for deciding it within 30 days. The bench expected that judgment will come early because it will affect future bye elections.

Earlier, the PTI while submitting a written statement defended the LHC order to declare the commission’s code of conduct as void.

The statement says that members of ECP are trying to hurt Imran Khan by keeping him out of the election campaign during the bye-elections.

The statement said that arraying the prime minister, chief minister and ministers in the notification with the members of National Assembly and Provincial Assembly is mala fide on the part of ECP. It added that the MNAs and MPAs do not hold any official or government position, therefore, could not fall within the category of those who are in power like the PM and CM. The statement alleges that the ECP while issuing notification had Imran Khan in mind because he was perhaps the only MNAs who having no governmental position would matter most with the voters in bye elections because of his immense popularity and charisma.