Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial on Thursday warned that the apex court would intervene if it witnessed any malpractice in conducting “transparent” polls, a private TV channel reported. The top judge also expressed his displeasure over the recent audio and video leaks related to the judiciary, particularly that involving him. A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court, headed by CJP Bandial, continued the hearing of a plea against the transfer of Ghulam Mahmood Dogar as the Lahore police chief. However, the court dismissed the appeal against the Lahore capital city police officer’s (CCPO) transfer after the ECP withdrew it. “I withdraw the appeal against the transfer of Ghulam Mehmood Dogar,” Abid Zuberi, the ECP’s lawyer, told the court. However while withdrawing the appeal, Zuberi told the SC that after the setting up of the caretaker government, the election schedule had been released. He added that according to Article 218, it was the commission’s responsibility to conduct fair and transparent elections. The electoral watchdog’s lawyer continued that the ECP had the authority to make changes in the bureaucracy to ensure a level playing field during the polls. The CJP noted that Article 218 authorised the ECP to give orders to the caretaker government to transfer officers. Justice Yahya Afridi inquired when did the ECP use its powers to approve Dogar’s transfer. Zuberi replied that the ECP had given an oral approval to the caretaker government for the transfer of the Lahore CCPO on January 23. He added that the caretaker government had decided to change the entire bureaucracy of the province for the transparency of the elections. The CJP observed that the authority of the commission was very wide, but also maintained that all political parties should get equal opportunity in the elections. He added that the ECP should not give open powers to the caretaker government for carrying out transfers. In February, the SC suspended the order to transfer Dogar and reinstated him as the Lahore CCPO. However earlier this month, the ECP challenged the apex court’s order of suspending the transfer of Dogar. The commission requested the SC to be allowed to implead as a party to the petition in the Lahore police chief’s transfer, arguing that that free and fair elections would be impossible without the reshuffling of “partisan officers”. “The ECP is charged with a constitutional duty of ensuring that the elections are conducted honestly, justly, fairly and in accordance with law and that the corrupt practices are guarded against. It is imperative that to ensure that the constitutional duty as envisaged in Article 218(3) is fulfilled, the machinery assisting the commission is neutral and non-partisan, and also has no germs of affiliations with a political party,” read an application filed by the commission with the SC.. “The incumbent officer [Dogar] has inclinations towards a particular political party and therefore the commission has reasons to believe that he will not be able to fulfil its constitutional duties if the said officer remains the head of division during the conduct of provincial assembly elections in Lahore,” it added.