ISLAMABAD - Retaining the same views expressed in Sindh local government elections case, the Supreme Court Friday again directed the federal government to make necessary laws to empower the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to carry out delimitation of constituencies in Punjab as well.

Allowing the appeal of the ECP against the Lahore High Court judgement, the SC directed the Punjab government to make corresponding amendments in the Punjab Local Government Act, 2013.

The detailed judgement authored by Chief Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani ruled that the Election Commission shall, thereafter, proceed to carry out the delimitation of constituencies in Punjab afresh.

The court in its short order on March 19, 2014 had ruled that the power to hold elections of the local government stand vested in the Election Commission of Pakistan in terms of Article 140A of the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

The ECP has been mandated to "organise and conduct the election and to make such arrangements as are necessary to ensure that the election is conducted honestly, justly, fairly and in accordance with law, and that corrupt practices are guarded against," the order stated.

Since the holding of election of local govt has been delayed for more than nine years, which is violative of the constitutional command, we are persuaded to direct the governments, federal and provincial (Punjab) to carry out appropriate amendments/legislation to empower the Election Commission of Pakistan to initiate and carry out the process of delimitation of constituencies for the local government elections, the court had further ruled.

The court had ordered that the said exercise should be completed within a period of five months and the Election Commission of Pakistan shall thereafter take requisite measures to carry out the process of delimitation of constituencies for the local government expeditiously so as to complete the same within a period of 45 days of the enactment/amendments in laws in terms of this order.

The Election Commission of Pakistan was further directed to ensure that the announcement of election schedule and the process of holding it is complete by or before 15th of November, 2014.

The Lahore High Court on February 3, 2014 while deciding the petition filed by the government of Punjab ruled that Sections 8 to 10 of the Punjab Local Government Act, 2013 and Rules 3 to 8 of the Punjab Local Governments (Delimitation) Rules, 2013 are inconsistent with Article 218(3) read with Article 222(b) of the Constitution as they abridge and take away the Constitutional role and obligation of ECP besides offending Articles 3, 4, 9, 14, 17, 19 and 25 of the Constitution.

The court had declared the aforesaid provisions of the Act as unconstitutional and set aside the impugned orders of delimitation authority and the impugned final notifications issued by the delimitation officers. The court had directed the ECP to perform its constitutional role without further ado and hold elections to the local governments in Punjab forthwith, adding that ECP needs not to wait for the legislative amendments to the act in the light of this judgement.

Muhammad Akram Sheikh, counsel for the ECP, however, while arguing the case submitted that in the absence of appropriate laws the ECP cannot carry out its mandate of holding fair elections for the local government. He further added that in the face of this flawed legal position, this court can direct the government to initiate appropriate legislation.



Online adds: Supreme Court (SC) on Friday ordered Punjab police to recover two brothers went missing in Lahore till April 16 and submit a progress report in this regard.

Heading a three-member bench of the apex court while hearing missing persons case Justice Jawwad S Khawaja remarked, "Only the person whose relative has gone missing can know the real pain. How can the officers performing duty while sitting in air-conditioned rooms feel the pain of separation from the near and dear ones. Evidence is available with reference to Elite Force. Making no progress despite these proofs is a matter of grave concern”.

Justice Khawaja said investigation team had told that a federal intelligence agency was involved in the matter.

The court was told that during the course of hearing of the case Khalid Khalil and Hassan Abdullah were picked up from their homes when they were making preparations for wedding of their sister. Several people had spotted them.

DIG Zulfiqar told the court that FIR was registered with Hanjarwall Police Station and there were evidence that a federal intelligence agency was involved in it.

Justice Khawaja remarked, "17 months have been elapsed and these two brothers are still non-traceable. Either earth has devoured these two brothers or heaven. Concrete evidence is available and even then they are not being located”.

He directed DIG Zulfiqar to take personal interest and trace out these two brothers. Investigation team should meet Advocate General Punjab and petitioner.

More evidence be collected.

The court directed attorney general to recover two brothers till April 16. “Police should also present a report before SC in this regard,” court further ruled.