IHC issues notices in petition challenging notification of Islamabad LG elections

ISLAMABAD – The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Wednesday issued notices to Secretary Interior, Election Commission of Pakistan and others in Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) petition challenging the Commission’s notification regarding Islamabad LG elections. A single bench of IHC comprising Chief Justice of IHC Justice Athar Minallah conducted hearing of the petition and issued notices to the respondents directing them to submit their replies in this connection.  Dr. Tariq Fazal Chaudhry president PML-N Islamabad chapter, Raja Muhammad Shakeel Abbasi president PPP Parliamentarian Islamabad Division filed the petition through Adil Aziz Qazi Advocate and cited Federation of Pakistan through Secretary Ministry of Interior, Federation of Pakistan through Secretary to the Prime Minister and Election Commission of Pakistan through Chief Election Commissioner as respondents.  They adopted the stance that the ICT Local Government Act 2015 empowers the federal government to declare any area as union council and to divide an existing area of one union council into two and to notify the number of union councils in Islamabad.

The petitioners added that it is in this lieu that the federal government was recently pleased to increase the number of union councils of Islamabad to 101 UCs while citing that each union council shall be representative of 20,000/- people of Islamabad vide its notification dated 13.06.2022.

They further said that apart from the fact that the number of union councils have been increased from 50 to 101, the Election Commission of Pakistan recently issued a notification dated 22.04.2022 whereby it has started periodical revision of electoral rolls, and the said revision of the electoral rolls is already under process and the final electoral rolls as per the said notification will be published by 12.08.2022.

They contended that in presence of these notifications whereby the electoral rolls have not been finalised and the federal government while exercising its powers has increased the number of union councils in Islamabad, the Election Commission is not undertaking any delimitation process for the purposes of increasing the number of UCs In Islamabad, but instead has issued a notification dated 2nd June 2022 announcing the schedule for Conduct of Local Government Elections in Islamabad capital territory.

Petitioners also contended that the said notification has been issued in violation of the notification of the federal government to increase the number of union councils in Islamabad, the election commission was ought to comply with the said notification and conduct delimitation process before announcing the election schedule through the impugned notification.

They argued that there is no cavil to the proposition that the elections are a mandatory part of the democratic process and the Local Government Elections must be held accordingly but to hold the elections without complying with the increase in number of union council and before finalising the electoral rolls would be violation of the statutory provisions of the law.

Therefore, they prayed that the impugned notification dated 02.06.2022 issued by the ECP be set-aside being violative of the provisions of the ICT Local Government Act 2015 and the ECP be restrained from conducting the election process without increasing the numbers of union councils and conducting delimitation process in accordance with the notification dated 13.06.2022 and also not before finalising the electoral rolls, may kindly be passed in favour of the petitioners and against the respondents.

They further prayed that the respondents be directed to implement the notification dated 13.06.2022 and also carry out delimitation process accordingly in its letter and spirit in order to strengthen democracy and ensure representation of the people and take all further steps which empowers the local government as intended by 140-A of the Constitution of Pakistan.

 

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