LG polls in Islamabad get delayed

ISLAMABAD-The Local Government polls have been delayed in the capital after the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) Wednesday informed the Islamabad High Court (IHC) that it had decided to conduct fresh delimitation upon 101 newly constituted Union Councils.

The ECP stated this in its report submitted to the IHC bench during the hearing of a petition filed by Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) petition challenging the Commission’s notification regarding Islamabad LG elections.

The IHC bench in its written verdict in this matter expected that the Commission will complete the process of delimitation of 101 Union Councils within the period specified under section 7 of the Act of 2015 i.e. sixty five days.

However, the commission also prayed to the bench in its report that necessary direction may be issued to the Federal Government not to bring out further changes in law and number of councils and for proper assistance may be provided by the Federal Government to the Election Commission of Pakistan for smooth conduct of Local Government Elections as to avoid frustration of process of election comprising of delimitation etc. which not only involves the loss of public exchequer and also violation of the Command of Constitution and Law and the judgment of the apex Court reported in 2021 which requires such election to be within the time-frame of 120 days.

According to the ECP report, the last order dated 20-06-2022 passed by this court was placed before the Commission and the Commission deliberated and decided to conduct fresh delimitation upon 101 newly constituted Union Councils by the Federal Government.

The report added, “It is pertinent to mention here that the Commission has already completed the process of delimitation thrice in ICT for conduct of Local Government Elections. However, every time the Federal Government has used delaying tactics by making changes in the law through promulgation of Ordinance etc. It is the duty of the commission to conduct Local Government Elections within 120 days after the expiry of the councils. Directions have been issued by the August Supreme Court of Pakistan and Islamabad High Court for conduct of Elections in ICT and all the four provinces as early as possible and delay would be against the spirit of the constitution and the orders of August Supreme Court.”

The IHC bench noted in its judgment that the decision taken by the Commission is definitely in consonance with the scheme of the Act of 2015 and the grievances of the petitioners have been redressed.

It added, “The Federal Government and all other agencies/ organs of the State are directed to assist and facilitate the Commission in fulfilling its obligations, inter-alia, described under sections 5, 6 & 7 of the Act of 2015. It is expected that the Commission will complete the process of delimitation of 101 Union Councils within the period specified under section 7 of the Act of 2015 i.e. sixty five days. Thereafter, without delay, the Commission would be further expected to announce the election schedule and hold the elections in a fair and transparent manner. In case, the Federal Government fails in its duty to assist the Commission in completing the process, then it shall be at liberty to file an application for restoration of these petitions.”

After issuing the aforementioned directions, the IHC bench ruled that the petitions are, therefore, allowed and disposed of in the above terms.

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.

 

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