ISLAMABAD - The Election Commission of Pakistan, the Punjab and Sindh provincial governments have been ordered to disclose new dates for Local Bodies elections.

A three-member bench of the Supreme Court was hearing the ECP petition seeking a postponement of elections in Sindh and Punjab due to floods and amendments in elections laws. Justice Jawwad summoned the Sindh advocate general to appear in the court today and questioned why the provincial governments had deferred the local elections.

Advocate General, Punjab, Naveed Rasool, explained that he had told the court during the last hearing that usually there are floods in August and September every year, so the armed forces personnel would not be available for election duties as they are engaged in relief activities.

He said on October 14 & 15 the police and army personnel would be deployed for security on 9th and 10th of Muharram.

Munir Paracha, representing ECP, told the court as the armed forces are currently engaged in the flood relief work in Punjab, therefore, the Commission is considering to organise elections in two or three phases. In the phase-I the elections could be held in safer areas, while in phase-II the exercise could be done in the Seraiki belt, including Dera Ghazi Khan, Layya and Bhakar. The whole election process would be completed by March 10, he added.

Justice Jawwad, however, called for written reports on the difficulties the ECP, Punjab and Sindh are facing in conducting the elections. He said, he would pass an appropriate order only after examining their reports.

Justice Jawwad said: "The Punjab and Sindh governments should seek apology from their people as LG polls had been held in Khyber Pukhtoonkhawa, Balochistan and Cantonment Boards, but the Sindh and Punjab governments could not do it so far.”

Justice Dost Muhammad remarked, if another problem takes place after Muharram then what would happen? He said: "During the World War-II the democratic governments performed their duties and the elections were also held in some countries." He said since 1992 almost every year there are floods, but what preventive measures and policies were framed by National Disaster Management Authority and the government to control damages in the floods.

The court seeking report about difficulties to postpone the LB elections adjourned the hearing until today.