LAHORE - The Lahore High Court yesterday adjourned until Feb 9 the hearing of petitions challenging Local Government (amended) Ordinance after a law officer informed that the ordinance had been presented before the Punjab Assembly. PTI, PPP, PML-Q and PAT had filed petitions the ordinance saying that the amended ordinance changed the method of electing mayors/deputy mayors from secret ballot to “show of hand” besides other changes.

The political parties submitted that the amended ordinance had repaired the process of election of chairman or mayor to the selection. They said Article 226 of the Constitution postulated the secret process of election devoid of undue influence.

The parties contended that secret ballot was a voting method to protect a voter from the influence of ruling party and others and to strength democratic process.

They further said it was the constitutional mandate of the ECP to hold fair and transparent election to the local governments in terms of Articles 140A and 218(3) and 219(d) of the Constitution.

The opposition parties prayed the court to declare the impugned amendments null and void and stop ECP from conducting the forthcoming elections for the reserved seats of the local governments.

Meanwhile, the LHC directed the Punjab government in a petition against the appointment of Director General of Health Department.

A citizen Manzoor Hussain had filed the petition and pointed out that the appointment of Dr Mukhtar Hussain as DG health was against the merit.

The government appointed the respondent ignoring eligible officers he said. He also said the respondent was an officer of BS-19 but appointed on the post of BS-20 on political grounds.

The petitioner prayed to the court to set aside the impugned appointment for being illegal and based on nepotism.

After hearing initial arguments, Justice Shahid Waheed issued notice to the government and put off further hearing for March 22.