This update is meant to identify key developments during the month on Performance of Democratic Institutions in Pakistan with selected high-profile international developments included occasionally.
- Special Investment Facilitation Council
- Notifying appointment of Justice Qazi Faez Isa as the next CJP
- PTI president arrested
- SC delays review of the Supreme Court (Review of Judgments and Orders) Act
- SAPM says judges may face NAB trials for graft
- Audio and Videos as evidence
- PTI Resignations
- Creation of the Istehkam-i-Pakistan Party (IPP)’
- Cases against Mr. Imran Khan
- SC raises questions on Panama case hearings
- Civil Society leaders urge SC to rule against civilians’ trials in military courts
- PTI Chairman keen on talks with Establishment
- Supreme Court reserves its ruling on a plea seeking judges’ accountability by the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC)
- LHC suspends order of reinstating PTI lawmakers
- PPP gets its first mayor of Karachi
- Senate passes bill seeking to limit the disqualification of lawmakers to five years with retrospective effect
- ECP starts preparation for General Elections
- Senate Chairman offers resignation over Perks controversy
- ECP to closely watch decisions by the Punjab’s caretaker cabinet
- LHC strikes down handing over land to the Army
- Pakistan rejects talks with TTP
- National Assembly approves Elections (Amendment) Act 2023
- President, Ministers benefit from Special Hajj flight
- ECP official reportedly says Polls not possible under new population census
- 81st Formation Commanders Conference
- ISPR DG’s Presser: Reassures action against culprits of May 09 attackers
- Speaker National Assembly meets Foreign Dignitaries
- Chairman Senate meets Foreign Dignitaries
- Prime Minister’s Interactions with COAS
Special Investment Facilitation Council
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has created a Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC). Its first meeting, according to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), was held on June 20 under his chairpersonship where Chief of the Army Staff, Chief Ministers, Federal and Provincial Ministers and high-level government officials were present as the government ‘unveiled an elaborated ‘Economic Revival Plan’ envisaging on ‘capitalizing Pakistan’s untapped potential in key sectors of Defence Production, Agricultural / Livestock, Minerals / Mining, IT and Energy, through indigenous development as well as investments from friendly countries’. 
The SIFC has been created to act as a ‘Single Window’ interface for potential investors as well as to adopt a unified approach to fast-track development of projects. It will “shorten cumbersome and lengthy business processes through a cooperative and collaborative ‘whole of the government approach’ with representation of all stakeholders.” Creation of the SIFC is “aimed at creating horizontal-vertical synergy between federation and provinces; facilitating timely decision making; avoiding duplication of effort; and ensuring swift project implementation.”
Speaking at the meeting, the COAS “assured Pakistan Army’s all out support to complement Government’s efforts for Economic Revival Plan, considered fundamental to socio-economic prosperity of Pakistanis and reclaiming Pakistan’s rightful stature among the comity of nations.” Prime Minister, in his comments, reiterated that a “holistic / whole-of-government approach” was adopted to “foster partnerships within the federal and provincial governments for effective implementation and execution and that investors would be given primacy and fast track approvals through a well-coordinated approach. 
Notifying Appointment of Justice Qazi Faez Isa as the next CJP
On June 21, President Dr. Arif Alvi approved the appointment of Justice Qazi Faez Isa as the next CJP. Justice Isa, the most senior judge after the Chief Justice, will assume the role as the 29th Chief Justice on September 17, 2023, a day after the retirement of the incumbent, Justice Umar Ata Bandial, who will turn 65. On August 5, 2009, Justice Isa was directly inducted as the Chief Justice of Balochistan high court. 
PTI president arrested
On June 01, Chaudhry Parvez Elahi, former Chief Minister of Punjab and President, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), was detained by the Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) and police. The arrest was made in relation to corruption allegations.  Subsequently, on June 02, Mr. Elahi was re-arrested by the ACE in another corruption case registered in Gujranwala. The case involved allegations of kickbacks in development projects. The ACE shifted Mr. Elahi to its office in the district.  Furthermore, on June 09, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) initiated an inquiry against Mr. Elahi for his alleged involvement in embezzlement in development projects in Gujrat and Mandi Bahauddin. There were also legal proceedings related to alleged illegal appointments made in the Punjab Assembly. The Lahore High Court (LHC) suspended a sessions court’s order allowing the ACE to obtain physical remand of Mr. Elahi. A judicial magistrate sent Mr. Elahi to judicial lockup, and further investigations were conducted.  Later, on June 20, Mr. Elahi secured relief from an anti-corruption court in Lahore, but his release was delayed due to the non-delivery of release orders to the prison administration. The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) had stationed a team outside the jail to detain him in a money laundering case registered after he was granted bail. The FIA accused Mr. Elahi, along with his son and others, of money laundering through a front man. 
SC delays review of the Supreme Court (Review of Judgments and Orders) Act
The Supreme Court of Pakistan continued to delay its review of the Supreme Court (Review of Judgments and Orders) Act 2023.
On June 01, the SC decided to take a week-long recess after the Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) informed the court about the government’s intention to harmonize certain “overlapping provisions” of the Supreme Court (Practice & Procedure) Act 2023 and the Supreme Court (Review of Judgments and Orders) Act 2023. The eight-member bench, headed by the Chief Justice, was hearing a case related to a law that curtailed the powers of the Chief Justice. The same bench had earlier suspended the enforcement of the Supreme Court (Practice & Procedure) Act 2023, which was passed by the Parliament to regulate the suo motu powers of the Chief Justice. This was the third consecutive hearing adjourned without significant proceedings during that week.
On June 08, the Supreme Court once again postponed the hearing on a series of petitions challenging the Supreme Court (Practice & Procedure) Act, 2023 without any proceedings. The AGP requested more time to review the laws regulating the court’s affairs. Additionally, one of the judges, Justice Shahid Waheed, was unable to attend due to illness. During the hearing, the AGP and other counsels were called by judges into the Ante Room adjacent to Courtroom No. 1. The AGP requested more time. 
On June 13, Justice Umar Ata Bandial observed that by enacting the Supreme Court (Review of Judgements and Orders) Act 2023, the government had equated the right to appeal with the review against court orders, thus obliterating the distinction created by the Constitution. The observation came during the hearing by a three-judge SC bench of a set of challenges to the law as well as ECP review against the April 05 verdict, fixing May 14 as the date for holding elections to the Punjab Assembly. The CJP observed that the apex court would like to know the depth of the petitions moved to challenge the law, though the review petition will remain pending during the hearing of the pleas. The court, however, turned down a request for staying the operation of the law like it did earlier while taking up the case against the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Act 2023, since both laws have overlapping features.
On June 15, the CJP stated that the Supreme Court did not have an issue with the new law that expanded the scope of review petitions under Article 184(3) of the Constitution. However, he pointed out that the problem lay in the way the law was enacted. 
On June 16, CJP expressed his opinion that laws like the Supreme Court (Review of Judgements and Orders) Act, 2023, which expand the scope of review petitions, should have been enacted after seeking advice from experienced individuals such as the Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) who have litigation experience. 
On June 19, the Supreme Court reserved its ruling on a set of challenges to the Supreme Court (Review of Judgments and Orders) Act, 2023. The Chief Justice noted that the decision on the case would determine the fate of the ECP review against the April 4 verdict that fixed May 14 as the date for holding Punjab Assembly elections. During the proceedings, the Chief Justice directed all parties to submit written synopses within two days to ensure a clear understanding of their perspectives and to address any missed points during the hearing. The Chief Justice also expressed the court’s acceptance of the need for a remedy to orders and judgments issued under Article 184(3) of the Constitution. However, he emphasized that such remedies should be crafted in accordance with the Constitution by adding valid grounds, rather than through ordinary legislation. He questioned why the government should not consider defining the concept of “public importance,” which is an important element in invoking petitions under Article 184(3).
SAPM says judges may face NAB trials for graft
On June 8, the Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Accountability, Mr. Irfan Qadir, hinted that judges of the superior courts could be tried by the NAB if found them involved in corruption. While judges’ matters do go to the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC), he clarified that if there are elements of corruption that require criminal proceedings, judges can be tried under the accountability law.
Audio and Videos as evidence
On June 2, the Lahore High Court ruled that any audio or video clip without a known source or ownership cannot be considered as evidence in legal proceedings against an accused person. Justice Shahid Jamil Khan made this observation while hearing a petition related to the airing of a video clip depicting physical torture on a female student in a private school. The judge emphasized that the person against whom such audio or video is leaked is a victim, not an accused. Prior to this ruling, the judge had already ordered the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) to prevent television channels from broadcasting the video clip. 
On June 1, Mr. Pervez Khattak, provincial president of the PTI, announced his resignation from his party position. It was speculated that Mr. Asad Qaiser, the former National Assembly speaker and a member of the PTI negotiation committee, would also resign, but he did not make any statement and left the press conference. He (Mr. Pervez Khattak) clarified that he had resigned only as the PTI president of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and would remain a part of the party. Mr. Khattak expressed his disapproval of the May 9 violence, stating that it was wrong, and he hoped such incidents would not be repeated in Pakistan. 
On June 2, Sardar Usman Buzdar, the former chief minister of Punjab, also announced his resignation from the PTI and retirement from active politics. 
On June 22, two more PTI leaders, Mr. Ghulam Sarwar Khan, former federal Minister of Aviation in the PTI government and Mr. Humayun Akhtar Khan also left the PTI saying that they couldn’t remain associated with the party after the May 9 attacks.
Creation of the Istehkam-i-Pakistan Party (IPP)’
On June 7, Mr. Jahangir Khan Tareen announced the creation of a new political party that brought together many former leaders from the PTI including Mr. Fawad Chaudhry, Mr. Amir Kiyani, Mr. Ali Zaidi, Mr. Imran Ismail, Mr. Mahmood Maulvi, Ms. Firdous Ashiq Awan, Mr. Ajmal Wazir, Mr. Nauraiz Shakoor, and Mr. Fayyazul Hasan Chohan. The new party is called the Istehkam-i-Pakistan Party (IPP).
Cases against Mr. Imran Khan
- On June 07, the Lahore High Court granted interim protective bail to former prime minister Mr. Imran Khan in an FIR of alleged fraud in the sale of Toshakhana gifts and restrained the Islamabad police from arresting his wife Ms. Bushra Bibi till June 13 in any case.
- Mr. Khan appeared before the IHC to pursue his petition seeking direction for the chief commissioner to shift at least four courts from Sector F-8 Markaz to the comparatively secure Federal Judicial Complex (FJC) in Sector G-11. 
- On June 15, a division bench of the Balochistan High Court upheld the arrest warrants of PTI Chairman Imran Khan and rejected his petition to suspend the warrants.
- On June 21, PTI chief Imran Khan, his wife, Ms. Bushra Bibi, and three others nominated in the May 9 riots case reportedly skipped an appearance before a joint investigation team (JIT).
- On June 21, the LHC granted interim protective bail to PTI Chairman in the murder case of a lawyer in Quetta, while an anti-terrorism court also allowed him pre-arrest bail in two cases relating to the May 9 riots. The PTI chief appeared before a two-judge LHC bench along with Lahore High Court Bar Association’s president, Mr. Ishtiaq Ahmad Khan.
- On June 23, the LHC granted interim protective bail to Mr. Khan and his wife Bushra Bibi till June 26 in cases pertaining to alleged corruption in road projects.
SC raises questions on Panama case hearings
On June 9, the Supreme Court of Pakistan questioned the JI’s decision to separate its petition regarding the Panama Papers scandal from the main case, which sought an investigation against 436 individuals named in the leaked documents. The court wondered why the JI chose to focus the case on a particular family instead of pursuing a broader investigation. Justice Tariq Masood, heading a two-judge bench, expressed his concerns during the hearing of the JI’s plea. He questioned the reasons behind the separation of the JI petition after 24 hearings and raised doubts about whether the purpose was to keep the focus on a specific family. Justice Masood suggested that there might be more to the separation than meets the eye. The JI had filed its petition in August 2016, seeking action against the individuals named in the Panama Papers who allegedly stashed fortunes in offshore entities. However, the case was separated from the main proceedings related to the Panama Papers scandal. In response to the court’s query about the country’s interest in pursuing the 436 individuals, the JI counsel stated that it concerned public money. Justice Masood questioned why this concern was not raised earlier when the case was separated. The court reminded the counsel that the investigating agencies had already submitted their replies when the JI separated its cases. The JI chief requested the formation of a judicial commission to investigate the matter, but Justice Masood questioned why it took the petitioner so long to raise these concerns. The court also expressed surprise that the petitioner did not approach investigating agencies like the NAB, FIA, or anti-corruption departments against the individuals named in the Panama Papers. The court questioned the need to involve the Supreme Court in every matter and raised concerns about the functioning of other institutions if the top court were to constitute a judicial commission for every such leak. The court referred to a previous five-judge bench, headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, which had heard petitions against former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his family members in connection with investments in offshore companies revealed by the Panama Papers. The bench had separated the JI’s case upon the party’s request due to the wide grounds taken in it. The court also discussed the admissibility of cases under Article 184(3) of the Constitution, which pertains to the court’s suo motu powers.
Civil Society leaders urge SC to rule against civilians’ trials in military courts
On June 10, five prominent members of civil society in Pakistan filed a petition with the Supreme Court, urging the court to disallow trials of civilians under the Pakistan Army Act, 1952, and the Official Secrets Act, 1923, in relation to the alleged offenses that occurred on May 9 and 10. The petition argued that such investigations and trials violated certain sections of the army act and secrets act. The petitioners include Faisal Siddiqi, a senior counsel representing the executive director of the Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (Piler), Karamat Ali, as well as former Karachi Metropolitan Corporation administrator Fahim Zaman Khan, Aurat Foundation director Mahnaz Rahman, educationist Prof Dr. A.H. Nayyar, and clinical psychologist and educationist Syed Zulfiqar Hussain Gilani. According to the petitioners, the trial of civilians, including political leaders and workers, under the army act in an unprecedented manner is a matter of significant public importance. The petition names the federal government, through the secretaries of law and justice, interior, and defence, as respondents, along with the chief secretaries of Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Balochistan. 
On June 17, Mr. Aitzaz Ahsan filed a petition in the Supreme Court of Pakistan questioning the trial of civilians in military courts during peacetime. The petition sought to declare this practice as contrary to the separation of powers, the independence of the judiciary, and the fundamental rights of citizens. The petition, filed by Aitzaz Ahsan’s counsel, Sardar Latif Khosa, clarified that it did not aim to defend individuals involved in the violence that occurred on May 9. Rather, its main purpose was to ensure that none of the thousands of civilians arrested for their alleged participation in the May 9 violence would be tried in military courts.
On June 21, a nine-judge bench of the Supreme Court, headed by the CJP, began hearing four petitions challenging the trial of civilians in military courts. The bench included Justice Qazi Faez Isa, Justice Sardar Tariq Masood, Justice Ijazul Ahsan, Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah, Justice Munib Akhtar, Justice Yahya Afridi, Justice Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi, and Justice Ayesha Malik. The petitions were filed by former Chief Justice Jawwad S. Khawaja, Aitzaz Ahsan, Karamat Ali, and PTI Chairman Imran Khan. Former Chief Justice Khawaja, through his counsel Advocate Khawaja Ahmad Hosain, requested the Supreme Court to declare the trial of civilians in military courts as unconstitutional. He argued that certain sections of the Pakistan Army Act (PAA) were inconsistent with the fundamental rights granted by the Constitution and should be struck down. As an interim measure, the petition sought the suspension of proceedings against civilians based on the mentioned sections, or alternatively, a restraint on any military court from passing a final order in cases involving civilians based on those sections. In a separate development, PTI Chairman Imran Khan filed a petition questioning the arrests, investigation, and trial of civilians in peacetime under the PAA of 1952 and the Official Secrets Act of 1923.
On June 22, Chief Justice-designate Qazi Faez Isa expressed his belief that the nine-member bench hearing appeals against military trials was not a proper court. Justice Isa stood up from his seat on the bench, causing concern among his fellow judges, including CJP. Justice Isa cited Article 175(2) of the Constitution, which grants courts the right to hear cases, and argued that the present hearing violated Section 2 of the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Act, 2023. According to Justice Isa, petitions under Article 184(3) of the Constitution should first be placed before a committee of three senior judges to determine the composition of the bench. The larger bench left the courtroom despite pleas from counsel, who highlighted the risks faced by petitioners and their families and the ongoing trials in military courts. Justice Sardar Tariq Masood supported Justice Isa’s viewpoint and questioned why petitioners did not invoke Article 199 to file petitions before the high courts or raise objections when the Pakistan Army Act existed since 1952.
On June 23, the federal government provided information to the Supreme Court regarding the number of civilians in military custody in relation to the May 9 violence. AGP stated that a total of 102 civilians were in military custody, but none of them were women or juveniles. The CJP expressed concerns about the lack of reasons and material in the order of the administrative judge of the ATC, which handed over the custody of civilians to the military administration. When the CJP inquired about any policy regarding journalists and lawyers, the AGP stated that there was none. 
On June 26, another judge left the bench hearing the pleas challenging the trials of civilians under the army act, after objections were raised by the Attorney General on behalf of the federal government regarding the judge’s presence. As a result, the bench shrank to six judges, and the CJP expressed his expectation that no trials of individuals accused of committing violence on May 9, 2023, would commence in military courts while the apex court was hearing the matter.
Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah who excused himself from a seven-member SC bench hearing the challenge to military trial of civilians “only to safeguard public trust in the integrity and impartiality” of courts. In his note he said that the petitioner Jawwad S. Khawaja was his relative, but added the latter had filed the petition in public interest, not involving any interest of his own adding he acceded to the government’s request and withdrew from the bench only because the common man might not fully understand the difference between petitions filed in ‘public interest’ and ‘personal interest’.
On June 27, Justice Yahya Afridi, one of the six members remaining in the bench hearing challenges to the military trial of civilians, urged the CJP to constitute a full court to hear the case.
On June 27, the Federal Government informed the Supreme Court that formal action against the individuals handed over to the military for their alleged involvement in the May 9 riots had not yet commenced. 
On June 28, the Supreme Court adjourned the hearing of petitions challenging the trials of civilians in military courts, while the army’s legal wing is still in the process of completing formalities before commencing formal proceedings against the 102 suspects in their custody. 
PTI Chairman keen on talks with Establishment
On June 12, former Prime Minister Imran Khan stated that he ruled out talks with the government led by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, considering it futile. However, he expressed a desire to initiate a dialogue with the military establishment, whom he considered the “real decision makers.” Speaking to the media during his appearance at the IHC regarding multiple cases, the chairman of the PTI emphasized his belief in the rule of law and stated that he did not seek vengeance if he were to come back to power. When asked about the possibility of holding talks with politicians on the charter of economy, Mr. Khan responded that politicians, including the current rulers, were powerless and lacked the authority to conclude meaningful dialogues. Mr. Khan accused former Chief of Army Staff, General (Retd.) Qamar Javed Bajwa of betrayal, stating that he could have removed Mr. Bajwa on three different occasions but chose not to do so. He denied being under pressure and expressed greater concern for the economy. He dismissed the notion that PTI would be crushed and considered the departure of some prominent members from his party as a blessing in disguise, claiming to have rid himself of electables. He expressed optimism about winning the next general election, even if he were to be jailed. Mr. Khan expressed concerns about a potential military trial in connection with the May 9 violence, suggesting that authorities were attempting to charge him under the Army Act. He criticized the trial of civilians in military courts, considering it detrimental to democracy and justice.
Supreme Court reserves its ruling on a plea seeking judges’ accountability by the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC)
On June 13, the Supreme Court of Pakistan reserved its ruling on a petition that sought accountability of judges by the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) before their retirements. The petition was filed by several civil society members who aimed to establish a framework for the discretion of the SJC, which is responsible for holding superior court judges accountable. A two-judge bench, consisting of Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Munib Akhtar, heard the case. Senior counsel Hina Jillani argued that a judge facing allegations of misconduct becomes a financial burden on the state if they retire while a complaint against them is still pending before the SJC. The petitioners in the case were represented by Advocate Hina Jillani and included civil society activists such as Afiya Shehrbano Zia, Afrasiab Khattak, M. Ziauddin, Farhatullah Babar, Nighat Said Khan, Farida Shaheed, Rubina Saigol, and Bushra Gauhar. They filed the plea following the retirement of former Chief Justice Saqib Nisar while a complaint against him was pending before the SJC. In 2018, the petitioners, along with 98 other citizens, had filed a reference against the then-chief justice under Article 209 of the Constitution, alleging a breach of the judge’s Code of Conduct. However, the judge retired in January 2019, and the outcome of their complaint remained unknown. In May 2019, the petitioners sent a letter to the Supreme Court registrar inquiring about the status of their reference. The registrar’s office responded, stating that the SJC had declared the reference as infructuous through a decision on March 8, 2019. The reply also mentioned that the SJC proceedings were conducted in-camera and not open to the public. In a subsequent letter, the petitioners expressed their concerns, stating that it was unfair and against the public interest for the former Chief Justice to continue enjoying substantial privileges, considering that if found guilty of misconduct, he would have lost entitlement to such benefits that were funded by the public exchequer.
On June 27, the SC rejected a plea to structure the discretion of SJC, stating that the arguments presented were not tenable or meritorious. The counsel had argued that a judge accused of misconduct remained a financial burden on the exchequer if the complaint against them was pending before the SJC until their superannuation. The complaint had been filed against former Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar under Article 209 of the Constitution for an alleged breach of the judges’ code of conduct. In the verdict, Justice Munib Akhtar stated that if the SJC formed the necessary opinion, it was necessary to report to the president that a particular judge be removed from office. However, Justice Akhtar emphasized that this outcome was not possible in relation to a judge who had already retired or resigned. The verdict highlighted that Article 209 of the Constitution applies only to judges currently holding office and not to those who have retired or resigned. The judgment further noted that accepting the proposition of the petitioners could allow complaints to be filed under Article 209 against retired or resigned judges for alleged misconduct while they were in office. 
LHC suspends order of reinstating PTI lawmakers
On June 13, the LHC suspended a previous decision that reinstated 72 MNAs from the PTI. These lawmakers had initially resigned, and their resignations were accepted by the National Assembly speaker, and they were later de-notified by the ECP. The suspension order was issued by a two-judge bench, consisting of Justice Shahid Bilal Hassan and Justice Shakil Ahmad, in response to an intra-court appeal filed by the National Assembly’s secretary, Mr. Tahir Hussain. The bench observed that the appeal raised significant points and directed the appellant’s counsel to submit copies of the petitions pending before the Supreme Court and the IHC regarding similar matters.
PPP gets its first mayor of Karachi
On June 15, Mr. Murtaza Wahab was elected as the first Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) mayor of Karachi. The mayoral election was marked by controversy, recriminations, and protests. Mr. Wahab, representing the PPP, was pitted against Jamaat-i-Islami’s (JI) Hafiz Naeem ur Rehman in a closely contested race. The PPP had formed an alliance with the PML-N and the JUI-F, giving them a combined strength of 173 votes. On the other hand, the Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) had the support of 61 PTI members, totalling an expected number of 192 votes for Mr. Rehman. However, while Mr. Wahab secured all 173 expected votes, Mr. Naeem ur Rehman only managed to receive 160 votes as 30 union council members abstained from the polling process. 
Senate passes bill seeking to limit the disqualification of lawmakers to five years with retrospective effect
On June 16, the Senate of Pakistan passed a bill, The Elections (Amendment) Bill, 2023 that seeks to limit the disqualification of lawmakers to a maximum of five years, with retrospective effect. However, the opposition rejected the bill, considering it as “person-specific legislation.” The bill was introduced by Minister of State for Law, Mr. Shahadat Awan on behalf of the minister for parliamentary affairs. It was presented in the Senate as a supplementary agenda item after the suspension of rules and was immediately taken up for consideration.
In addition, the bill proposed to give powers to the ECP to fix date for general elections. Law Minister, Senator Azam Nazeer Tarar explained that the original law (The Representation of the People Act) of 1976 granted the ECP the authority to determine the date for general elections. However, after the imposition of martial law in 1977, the power to fix election dates was transferred to the president through an ordinance issued by the then military ruler, General Zia ul Haq. The proposed amendment aimed to address this anomaly in the law and was supported by a joint parliamentary committee. 
ECP starts preparation for General Elections
On June 19, with the National, Sindh, and Balochistan assemblies set to expire in less than two months, the ECP initiated preparations for the upcoming general election. The ECP held a meeting, chaired by CEC, Mr. Sikandar Sultan Raja, where Secretary Omar Hamid Khan briefed the commission on the steps taken so far. This included completing the procurement of paper for election material and ballot papers, ensuring their safe storage, and preparing the draft list of polling stations. The ECP has started an awareness campaign and is coordinating with institutions like NADRA for printing and distributing electoral rolls.
Senate Chairman offers resignation over Perks controversy
On June 28, Senate Chairman offered to resign and subject himself to accountability over controversy surrounding draft legislation aimed at enhancing perks for current and former chairmen, deputy chairmen, and members of the Senate.
On June 19, he defended the introduction of three bills aimed at increasing perks for former and future heads of the Senate, stating that these draft laws would not impose any additional burden on the national exchequer. However, the PPP rejected the bills, citing the economic challenges facing the country. The three bills were adopted by the Senate, drawing criticism after details of the additional privileges were revealed. These bills proposed increased security details, government-sponsored travel for domestic staff and family members of former chairmen, and higher monthly expenses for the offices of chairmen and deputy chairmen. 
ECP to closely watch decisions by the Punjab’s caretaker cabinet
On June 20, the LHC ruled that the ECP must closely monitor the decisions taken by the caretaker cabinet in Punjab and rectify them if they exceed the cabinet’s jurisdiction. The detailed verdict was given by Justice Shahid Karim in response to petitions against a decision made by the caretaker government of Punjab to withdraw notifications for the creation of a new division, four new districts, and two tehsils in the province. Justice Karim observed that there has been a trend of cases where the caretaker cabinet oversteps its powers, which is not permissible.
On June 22, the ECP reminded the caretaker chief ministers of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa that maintaining neutrality is their legal duty. Letter, as sent by Secretary ECP to the two caretakers read, “As you are aware that Under Section 230 of the Elections Act, 2017, the role and duties of the caretaker government is to maintain neutrality and impartiality during its period and ensure equal treatment and providing level playing field to all political parties and other stakeholders,”. The caretaker government was also required to be non-controversial and assist the ECP in accordance with the Constitution and the laws, said the letter.
LHC strikes down handing over land to the Army
On June 21, the LHC invalidated a decision made by the caretaker government of Punjab to lease 45,000 acres of land in three districts to the army for a period of 20 years. The court ruled that the agreement exceeded the authority of both the caretaker government and the military. Justice Abid Hussain Chattha stated that the caretaker government lacked the constitutional and legal mandate to make any decision regarding the Corporate Agriculture Farming (CAF) initiative and policy, as outlined in Section 230 of the Elections Act 2017. 
Pakistan rejects talks with TTP
On June 22, Pakistan categorically rejected the possibility of holding talks with the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) following an offer by the Afghan Taliban to mediate such talks. The Foreign Office spokesperson, Ms. Mumtaz Zahra Baloch, stated during a weekly press briefing that Pakistan would not engage in negotiations with those responsible for the killing of civilians and law enforcement officials. When asked about Pakistan’s discussions with Afghanistan on this matter, Ms. Baloch did not provide specific details but mentioned that Pakistan had conveyed its concerns regarding the terrorist threat. The Foreign Office emphasized that Pakistan hopes and expects that the commitments made in the trilateral outcome declaration between Pakistan, Afghanistan, and China will be fulfilled. This is to ensure that Afghanistan does not become a source of terrorism and instability affecting its neighbouring countries, including Pakistan.
National Assembly approves Elections (Amendment) Act 2023
On June 25, the Elections (Amendment) Act 2023 was approved by the National Assembly of Pakistan after receiving approval from the Senate. This act grants the ECP the authority to unilaterally determine the date for elections and also limits the disqualification period for lawmakers to five years, with retrospective effect. 
President, Ministers benefit from Special Hajj flight
On June 26, several government ministers, state functionaries, and staff members travelled to Saudi Arabia to perform Haj on a special Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight. The flight was initially intended for lawmakers who had missed their previous Haj flight due to the federal budget session. Among the passengers were President Arif Alvi, his family, and staff members, as well as Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah, State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ms. Hina Rabbani Khar, Mr. Murtaza Abbasi, and caretaker Punjab Chief Minister, Mr. Mohsin Naqvi. In total, there were 52 pilgrims on the flight, while 90 regular passengers were on board too. The special flight had gained attention after Finance Minister Ishaq Dar mentioned it during a session of the National Assembly, stating that it was meant to facilitate fellow parliamentarians. However, on June 25, Mr. Dar clarified that the lawmakers themselves were covering the expenses of the trip. The travel arrangements were made after a request from Islamabad to Saudi authorities to allow a special PIA flight for the parliamentarians who participated in the budget debate. It was later revealed that not only lawmakers but also the President, his wife, and his staff members were on board. Upon arrival, there was a brief delay as Saudi authorities were reportedly not informed about President Alvi’s arrival. After the delay, a convoy of black Mercedes vehicles arrived to provide protocol to President Alvi, while the other passengers were taken to the airport lounge like regular passengers. The Press Secretary to the President, Akhtar Munir, clarified that President Alvi, along with six family members and four staff members, went for Haj at the President’s expense, and no state funds were used for this purpose.
ECP official says Polls not possible under new population census
On June 28, a senior official of the ECP stated that conducting the upcoming general elections based on the results of the digital census, which have yet to be formally notified, is not possible. The official mentioned that the general elections in 2023 for the national and provincial assemblies will be conducted according to the delimitation published earlier. This statement comes ahead of a post-enumeration survey associated with the Census 2023, scheduled to begin on July 8, with plans to submit a report to the Council of Common Interests (CCI) by July 31.  The ECP spokesperson later contradicted the Commission has discussed the subject as yet.
81st Formation Commanders Conference
On June 7, General Syed Asim Munir, Chief of the Army Staff (COAS), presided over the 81st Formation Commanders Conference at the General Headquarters (GHQ). The conference was attended by Corps Commanders, Principal Staff Officers, and all Formation Commanders of the Pakistan Army.
According to the ISPR, participants were briefed on the prevailing security environment, including internal and external challenges, and the Army’s operational preparedness in response to evolving threats, both traditional and non-traditional. The COAS reiterated the commitment of the Pakistan Army to its national obligations of safeguarding the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the country. He emphasized the deep bond between the people of Pakistan and the Armed Forces, stating that it remains central to all their undertakings. The events of May 25 were cited as a clear manifestation of this bond. The forum concluded that unfounded and baseless allegations against the Law Enforcement Agencies and Security Forces, such as custodial torture, human rights abuses, and stifling of political activities, are intended to mislead the people and malign the Armed Forces for trivial political interests.
The forum strongly condemned the incidents that took place on May 9, referring to them as the “Black Day.” It reaffirmed its determination to bring the perpetrators who desecrated Shuhada (Martyrs) Monuments, Jinnah House, (Lahore Corpse Commander’s official residence) and attacked military installations to swift justice under the Pakistan Army Act and Official Secrets Act, which are derived from the Constitution of Pakistan. Efforts to distort the truth and use imaginary human rights violations as a smokescreen to hide the faces of those involved were deemed futile. The conference stressed the need to tighten the legal noose around the planners and masterminds who orchestrated the politically driven rebellion against the state and its institutions. While the legal trials of the perpetrators and instigators have already begun, it was emphasized that the planners and masterminds behind the chaos in the country must also be held accountable.
ISPR DG’s Presser: reassures action against culprits of May 09 attackers
On June 26, Director General of the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR), in a press conference, said that we would never forget the incidents of May 09 and all the culprits shall be punished.
DG ISPR started his conversation by highlighting that May 09 incidents were planned for months and a certain environment was created that people’s emotions were instigated against Amry, DG ISPR said, “Intahai afsos nak qable muzamt aur Pakistan ki tarikh ka ik syah baab hai. 9 May ke waqiat nay yay sabit kar dia ke jo kam dushman pichlay 76 saal say na kar saka wo 9 may ko in muthi bhar shar pasandon aur un ke sahulat karon nay kar dikhaya; is ki jitni bhi muzammat ki jaiy kam hai. 9 May ka saniha bilashuba Pakistan ke khilaf bohot bari sazish thi. Ab tak ki tehkeekat say sabit howa hai ke saniha 9 May ki mansuba bandi guzishta kai mahinon say chal rahi thi. Iss mansuba bandi ke tehet pahlay iztarabi mahol banaya gaya phir logon ke jazbat ko ishteal dilaya gaya or fauj ke khilaf uksaya gaya. Is silsalay main jhoot or mubaligha-aarai per mabni bayaniaa mulk ke ander or bahir baith kar social media par phelaya gaya aur iss shar-angaiz bayaniay say logon ki zehan sazi ki gai. Ab tak ki tehkikaat main boht say shawahid mil chukay hain aur musalsal mill rahay hain”.
Major General Ahmed Sharif Chaudhry, DG ISPR, highlighted that families of martyrs have been hurt badly by desecration of monuments of Martyrs. “Shuhada ke yay wursa hum sab say aur bil khasoos army chief say bar bar yay sawal kar rahay hain ke kia woh apnay shaheed honay walay officers aur jawanon ki hurmat ka in shar-pasandon say mustakbil main tahafuz kar sakayn ge. Shuhada ke wurasa or army ke tamam ranks hum sab say yay sawal utha rahay hain ke ager hamari qurbanion or hamaray shuhda ke taqadus ki issi tarha be-hurmati honi hai to hamayn mulk ki khatir jan qurban karnay ki kia zaroorat hai.” 
DG ISPR further said Army has sacked three officers, including a Lieutenant General and concluded disciplinary proceedings against 15 officers, including three major generals and seven brigadiers, over the violent attacks of May 09 after the arrest of PTI Chairman. However, the army’s spokesperson did not name the officers against whom the action was taken. It was also not made clear what those conclusions of disciplinary proceedings were such as termination of service, demotion, confiscation of benefits or what? The spokesperson told reporters that disciplinary proceedings were initiated against these officers due to their negligence to protect military installations from violent protesters.
DG ISPR elaborated that, “9 may ko muta’adid garrison main jo pur tashadid waqait howay us per do idara-jati jamaie inquiries ki gai jis ki sadarat major generals k ohday k afsaaran nay ki, aik mufasil aur deliberate ahtasbi amal k baad in court of inquiries ki safarishat ko maday nazar rakhtay howay yay faisla kia gaya k jo mutalaka zimydaran garrison, fauji tansibat, GHQ aur Jinah house ki security or takadus ko barkarar rakhnay main kamiyab nahi rahey, un zimay daran k khilaf tadibi kaarvayi amal Mein Lai gai hai jinki tafsilat Kuch Yun hai teen Afsaran Baashamul aik Lt General k ohday ke afsar ko Naukari se barkhast kar diya gaya hai. 15 afsaraan baashamul 3 major generals aur saat Brigadier generals k uhday ke afsaraan k khilaf sakht tadibi kaarvayi mukammal ki ja chuki hai aapko in sazaon say yeh andaza hoga k fauj kay andar khud-ahtasabhi ka amal bagh;air kisi tafriq k mukmmal kiya jata hai aur jitna bara ohda hota hai utni hi bari zimmedari nibhaani parti hai; main yah bhi batata chalou ke fauj ke ahtasabi amal mein kisi ohday ya maasharti haisiyat mein koi distinction nahi rakhi jaati”
DG ISPR further added that no one is being spared from accountability, DG ISPR said, “is waqt aik retired 4 star general ki nawasi, aik retired 4 star general ka damaad, aik retired 3 star general ki begam aur aik retired 2 star general ki Begam aur damaad is ahtasabi amal se naqabal-e-trdeed shawhid ki buniyad per guzar rahe hain. Khwateen-o-hazrat: army act kay tahat chalaye jaane wale mukadmat ke silsile mein pahle say qaim shuda standing fouji adaltain kam kar rahi hain jismein ab tak 102 shar pasandho ka trial kiya ja raha hai aur yeh amal jari hai. khwateen-o-hazrat: afwaj-e-pakistan ki izath-o-wakar per ik ghinony mansuby kay tahat war kiya gaya; Iske bawajud security forces nay dahshat gardon aur unke sahultkaron ke khilaf rawan saal ke dauran 13,619 chote barey intelligence based operation kiay. is dauran 1,172 dahshat gardo ko vaasel-e-jahannam ya girftar kiya gaya”
Responding to a question from a journalist that after May 09 incident, Military courts have been established, and how trial will proceed for those who were involved in mayhem, “yah military courts jon se hain inka Supreme Court mein case chal raha hai so I will restrain myself and not give opinion but yeh jo hakaiq hain unko janna samajhna zaruri hai. is waqt mulk bhar mein 17 standing courts kam kar rahi hain aur is say murad yeh hai k yeh military courts standing courts hain; yeh koi 9 may ke bad marzey wajod mein nahi ain balky is act ke tahat pahle se fa’aal thi aur mojud thi. in standing court mein jaisa k maine aapko bataya 102 shar pasandon ke cases Civil Court mein saboot aur kanoon ke mutabik saboot dekhne ke bad kanoon ke mutabik Civil Courts nay in cases ko military court mein muntakil kiya hai. in tamam mulziman ko mukmmal kanooni hakook hasil hain jismein civil vakilon tak rasai ka hak unhen hasil hai Iske elava High Court mein appeal ka hak unhen hasil hai iske elava Supreme Court mein appeal ka hak unhen hasil hai; aur yeh ke army act ainay Pakistan aur kanoon ka kai dahaion say hisa hain aur yah ke iske tahat saikron cases niptae ja chuke hain; kanoon ke tamam taqazon ko mukmmal karne ke bad niptae ja chuke hain aur yah ke International Court of Justice ney Iske due processes ko puri jaanch been ke bad validate kiya hai. in tamam hakaik ki maujudgi mein agar koi bhi jhutha biyaniyan banae to wo bana sakta hai lekin hakaik ko wo nahi jhutla sakta”.
Responding to a Question that a particular political party, after May 09 incidents, developed a narrative that May 09 was a false flag operation which Military along with PDM initiated so PTI could be banned, “Dekhen yah Jo aapane Baat Ki Hai k 9 may ka saniha fooj ya agenciyon nay karaya, is sey zyada sharmnak aur Afsosnak baat nahi ki Ja sakti yah Baat Kahane Walon Ki zahrili Soch aur zaihan ki aakashi karta hai Waqt ki killat ke baies mein Chand zameni hakaik aapke Samne Rakhta hun aur aap khud Faisla kijiye. CCTV footages audio recordings tasaveer aur mulwis afrad ke apne byanaat say yah wazeh hota hai k mansooba Bandi ke tahat 9 May ko Chun Chun ke Fauji tansibaat Ko Nishana Banaya Gaya aur 9 May say bohat pahle hi Logon ki Fooj k khilaf zahain sazi ki gai, Fooji qiyadat ke khilaf zaihen sazi ki gai. Main aapse yah Sawal Karta Hun K Kia yah zaihan sazi fooji qiyadat Ne Khud karvai? Apne khilaf girftari Ke Chand ghanton Mein Mulk Bhar Mein 200 se zaid mokamaat per sirf Fouji tansibaat per hamla karwaya gaya, main aapse yah Sawal karta hun k kia Rawalpindi, Lahore, Karachi, Chak Dara, Temargra, Multan, Faisalabad, Peshawar, Mardan, Quetta, Sargodha, Mianwali aur bahut si jagho per kya Fauj ne apne agents Pahle say phalai hue thay? Main aapse yah Sawal karta hun k kia foojiyon ne apne Hathon say Apne Shuhdha ki kurbaniyon ko jalaya? Main aapse Sawal Karta Hoon kya Humne Apne foojiyon ke Hathon se apne difay Pakistan ki Allamat Ko girwaya aur jalwaya? Aap mujhe is Baat Ka Jawab dain kay Pakistan ka fakhar Youm-e-takbeer, Peshawar Mein usko kya foojiyon ne jalaya hai? Kila Bala hasar k agay aslahay ka Muzhaira aur firing kisne kia? Gairmulki Zara-e-iblagh Aur shakhsiyat ko Riast-e-Pakistan aur Fauj ke khilaf mawad kia humne Khud provide Kiya Jab yah chal raha tha Silsila, Jab jalao geraho ho raha tha use Waqt bahar se baith k Mulk mein baith k Nami benami account se kon prachar kar raha tha k mazid jalao mazid gherao aur Kabza karo kia yah Fooj Karwa rahi thi? Yeh to woh Chand hakaik Hain Jo Maine Rakhe Iske elava beshumar Saboot hain is say yah sabit Hota Hai ke badkismati say Jhooth tafrik or propagande k elawa ik khas garoh aur uski kiyadat ke pass koi aur Hathiyar Nahi Hai Yeh badkismati hai” .
Responding to a Question that who are the real culprits behinds May 09 violent attacks, have they been identified and how will they be punished, , DG-ISPR said, “Dekhen ager main nay aapko posting, position, Naam batane Hote tau pahle hi bata deta. I would not….. your Question. important point aapne raise Kiya master minds ka mansooba sazon ka. Dekhen Hathmi taur per yeh Kahna kay master minds kon hain qabal az qaqt hoga. Iske master minds koun hain yah wahi log Hain jinho nay pichhle kafi arsay say logon ki zehan sazi ki apni hi Fooj k khilaf. Jinhone Hamare gharon Mein Hamare bacchon mein Hamari bahno Mein yah taser Dala k yah jaiz hai k apni hi fooj k khilaf chal paro or usi per petrol Bomb phank dau aur Unki gariyon per Pathar maro or unkey shohdha ki jo alamat Hain unko girao unko jalao wohi master mind hain; aap Sabke Samne Roze Roshan ki tarah Ayan hain. the point that to be noted is Jin Logon nay yeh wakiyat kiye 9 May ko bilkul kabal-e- muzmmat hai or unko saza milni chahie or Milegi Insha ALLAH. Us say zyada Aham hai k yah Jo mansooba Saaz aur sahulatkar hain Agar Hamari qaum nay 9 May k wakay say aage Barhana Hai to Inko benakab karna or kaifray kirdar Tak pahunchana zaruri hai. yah point important hai please samjhe k saneha 9 may use Waqt Tak Insaaf ka muntazir rahe ga jab tak Iske mansobah sazon or sahulat karon Ko kaifare kirdar Tak Nahi pahunchaya jata; agar aisa Nahi hoga to kal koi or siyasi garoh Apne mazmoom maksid k liye is wakiya ko dohrai ga”. 
Speaker National Assembly meets Foreign Dignitaries
- On June 20, Ambassador of Bosnia & Herzegovina, H.E. Mr. Sakib Foric, called on Raja Parvez Ashraf, Speaker, National Assembly at the Parliament House, Islamabad.
Chairman Senate meets Foreign Dignitaries
- On June 01, Mr. Chakkrid Krachaiwong, Ambassador of Thailand to Pakistan, called on Senator Muhammad Sadiq Sanjrani, Chairman Senate at the Parliament House, Islamabad.
- On June 05, Chairman Senate of Pakistan, Muhammad Sadiq Sanjrani along with Senators met with the Chizhov Vladimir Alekseevich, the Head of the group on cooperation between the Federation Council and the Senate of Pakistan after their Arrival at Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport.
- On June 06, Chairman Senate of Pakistan, Muhammad Sadiq Sanjrani held delegation level talks with Speaker of the Russian Federation Council I.V Matvienko at Moscow, Russia.
- On June 07, Chairman Senate of Pakistan, Muhammad Sadiq Sanjrani, addressed and met the members of the Russian Federation Council during the Plenary Session at Moscow, Russia.
- On June 07-08, Chairman Senate of Pakistan, Muhammad Sadiq Sanjrani, met with Deputy Prime Minister Alexandar Novak, Russian Federation at Moscow, Russia.
- On June 07-08, Chairman Senate of Pakistan, Muhammad Sadiq Sanjrani, met with Chairman of the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, Mr. VV Volodin at Moscow, Russia.
- On June 16, Mr. Najy Benhassine, Country Director World Bank for Pakistan Called on Chairman Senate, Muhammad Sadiq Sanjrani at Parliament House Islamabad.
- On June 20, Mr. Ilyas Masih, President of All Neighbors International and Dr. Chris Gnanakan, American Professor called on Senator Muhammad Sadiq Sanjrani, Chairman Senate at the Parliament House, Islamabad.
- On June 22, Chairman Senate of Pakistan, Muhammad Sadiq Sanjrani, Congratulated Numan Kurtulmuş, Newly Elected Speaker of the Grand National Assembly of Turkiye in a telephonic call.
Prime Minister’s Interactions with COAS
General Syed Asim Munir with PM, Mr. Shehbaz Sharif
Prime Minister Mr. Shahbaz Sharif, and Chief of Army Staff (COAS), General Asim Munir met three times during the month of June 2023.
- On June 12, COAS called on PM at PM House, Islamabad. Defence Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif was not present in the meeting
- On June 19, COAS met with PM at formation of Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC)’ at PM House, Islamabad. Defence Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif was present in the meeting
- On June 29, PM, COAS, and a number of Ministers spent the day of Eid-ul-Azha, with Pakistani troops at Pakistan Afghan Border, Para Channar. Defence Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif was present on the occasion
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