Islamabad - A division bench of Islamabad High Court yesterday issued notices to secretary law, secretary ministry of parliamentary affairs and other respondents in Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf’s petition challenging the process of electing mayor and deputy mayors of Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad.

The IHA dual bench comprising Justice Noor-ul-Haq N Qureshi and Justice Athar Minallah conducted hearing of the petition and directed the respondents to submit their reply in this matter.

The petitioner has challenged the joint election of mayor and three mayors and requested the court to direct the Chief Election Commissioner of Pakistan to hold the election of the mayor and three deputy mayors separately.

The petitioner Ali Nawaz Awan, who was elected as chairman in local government election 2015 from union council # 40, Islamabad, and a contesting candidate for deputy mayor in the forthcoming elections, moved the petition and nominated secretary ministry of law, justice and human rights, secretary, ministry of parliamentary affairs, secretary cabinet division, chief election commissioner of Pakistan and secretary interior as respondents.

He moved the petition through Advocates Farrukh Dall and Syeda Fatima Hasan Gilani and prayed to the court to issue a writ of mandamus to the respondents and their instrumentalities not to give effect to the provisions of sections 12(1)(i) and 12(3) of Islamabad Local Government Act, 2015 to the extent of “joint candidates.”

The petitioner’s counsels contended that this provision of law was not there in the Islamabad Local Government Act, 2015 when it was originally promulgated but was inserted vide Islamabad Capital Territory Local Government (Amendment) Ordinance, 2015 dated 14-10-2015.

“That insertion of three deputy mayors as joint candidates with mayor by way of amendment days before the election is malafide and misuse of the powers conferred upon by President under article 89 of the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973 and thus has been resulting in abuse and misuse by ruling party because of its extreme laxity, vagueness, incongruity, ambiguity, inconsistency and non-fairness,” maintained the counsel.”

He argued that there is no such provision of joint candidates in any other province of the country hence this section is discriminative on the face of it and liable to be declared as such. Dall continued that any prudent man after going through this section can easily understand that this condition of joint candidates is made just to elect four persons only in one go.

Therefore, he prayed to the court that provisions of joint candidates as mentioned in Section 12(1) (i) and 12 (3) of Islamabad Local Government Act, 2015, its corresponding Rule 45 of the Islamabad Capital Territory Local Government (Conduct of Elections) Rules, 2015 may be struck down being unconstitutional, undemocratic, against the fundamental rights, discriminatory, inconsistent with the principle of fairness and clarity amounting to disfranchising a large number of voters.

He also requested to the court that the respondent number 4 be directed to hold the election of the mayor and three deputy mayors separately to salvage and restore the delicately poised constitutional balance in accord with the norms of constitutional democracy.