ISLAMABAD -Defence Ministry on Tuesday gave commitment that local governments elections in the cantonment boards areas across the country would be held by September 15, 2013.

Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry heading a three-member bench, which heard the Raja Rab Nawaz’s petition regarding elections in cantonment board areas, said: “We are hopeful that all the provincial governments and the Islamabad administration would also hold the local bodies elections in their areas as it plays important role in good governance and welfare of the citizens of Pakistan.”

Raja Rab Nawaz, the petitioner, has demanded of holding local government elections in 34 cantonment board areas of the country particularly in Quetta, in accordance with Local Government Act 1924. The British had established the cantonment boards in 1924 and it was mentioned in the act that there would be civilian representatives, but it had not been happening in the country since 1999.

Attorney General for Pakistan Munir A Malik submitted a written statement of the Secretary Defence, which stated: “Process of election in all cantonment boards will be completed by September 15, 2013.”

Earlier, the attorney general and Secretary Defence Asif Yasin Malik appeared before the court and sought extension of time for holding election in the cantonment boards.

He explained that in pursuance of the court’s earlier order, the government is contemplating essential amendments in relevant laws for holding elections in the cantonment boards, adding that as this process is yet to start, it will consume some time therefore, he requested extension of time.

The court after the defence ministry’s statement allowed the application for extension of period for holding elections in the cantonment boards till September 15, 2013.

The court in its order directed that copy of its order be sent to Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to ensure holding of election in term of Article 32 and 140 of the constitution.

The court also appreciated the efforts of the attorney general for his efforts in the instant case, saying that after 14 years, election are going to be held in cantonment areas.

The court also expressed the hope that the provincial governments and Islamabad administration will make arrangements to hold local bodies elections in accordance with law.

Later the court adjourned the hearing.