Islamabad - A leading candidate of local government election on Tuesday alleged the federal government for making efforts to sabotage the local government elections in the federal capital.

Basharat Mahmood Khokhar — a candidate for the slot of chairman Union Council # 25, Ali Pur — spoke out after Islamabad’s chief commissioner office missed the deadline to open a public consultation on the ICT local government election rules. The consultation is the first step in the election process and the failure to launch it on time will limit the opportunity for general public to give their suggestions and objections on the draft rules.

Khokhar searched for the “Islamabad Capital Territory Local Government (Conduct of Elections) Rules, 2015” at local government’s website whole the day on Tuesday but to no avail. The government through public notices had invited general public suggestions/objections over the new draft rules on Tuesday.

“The local administration is playing in the hands of the federal government which is not willing to hold the elections as it has nothing to woo the voters,” said Khokhar. He said that the government first issued schedule for the elections in the absence of a law but now it is using delaying tactics.

“The government is waiting for the retirement of Justice Jawwad S Khawaja of the Supreme Court so that he could not pursue the matter. It wants three to four months time to prepare for the local government elections in Islamabad and delay in posting the rules on the website is reflection of its intentions,” he further alleged.

Chief Commissioner Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) office is yet to place “Islamabad Capital Territory Local Government (Conduct of Elections) Rules, 2015” at its website over which the administration had invited objections/suggestions from general public through public notices on Tuesday. Nobody amongst the local administration was ready to take responsibility of what could be described as nothing but ineptitude as The Nation made contacts with different officials of the ICT administration to know what caused delay in that regard. A few of them were oblivious of the situation, most of them were least bothered about it while some were quick to assure that the rules would soon be placed on the ICT administration website. However, it did not happen till filing of this report.

The government has invited general public to submit their objections or suggestions, if any, within 14 days of the publication of the public notice, starting from Tuesday. It is to mention here that the federal government had on Monday assured the Supreme Court that rules for holding local government elections in the federal capital would be finalised within 15 days. A three-member bench of the Supreme Court headed by Justice Jawwad S Khawaja is hearing the case related to LG polls in Islamabad. Additional Attorney General Amir Rehman informed the court that rules for LG polls in the capital city have been framed and would be placed at prominent places. Moreover the rules would also be uploaded on the ICT administration website for public information and inviting objections and suggestions on them. According to the public notice, the objections/suggestions must reach the additional deputy commissioner (revenue) ICT Islamabad (focal person) within the aforesaid period which would be taken into consideration by the government.

When contacted, Shafqat, a staff member of Director (Admin) ICT Farasat Ali Khan, said that he knew nothing whether or not the rules were uploaded on the website for information of general public. Shafqat, however, assured that the rules would be placed at the website by Tuesday night. Farasat Ali Khan told The Nation that he was on leave but even then he had directed his staff to upload the rules on the website as early as possible. He said that technical problem caused delay in that regard.

Deputy Director ICT, Muhammad Muneer told The Nation that he would also ensure that the rules are placed at the website as early as possible. When asked how the general public would be in a position to give suggestions when they have no access to the draft rules, he had no answer.

However, he added that Nouman Yousaf, who held a senior position in ICT hierarchy, was the relevant person to comment on the delay in uploading the rules. However, he (Yousaf) was not available despite repeated attempts made by this scribe.