ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court on Monday sought reports from Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) pertaining to steps being taken for holding local bodies’ elections in the province.

The apex court gave the ECP a month to complete arrangements in this regard.

The court also directed Sindh and Punjab provinces to complete legislation for the delimitation of constituencies by October 30, while the federation was again asked to appoint permanent Chief Election Commissioner.

A three-member bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice Nasirul Mulk heard the local bodies (LB) elections case.

During the hearing, Attorney General for Pakistan Salman Asam Butt informed the court that the federal government has issued two Ordinances, one pertaining to empower the election commission for conducting delimitation of the constituencies and the other related to preparation of voter lists.

Punjab Additional Advocate General Razaq A Mirza informed the court that the provincial government had issued an ordinance for amendment in LB election laws and soon it will be tabled in the provincial assembly.

Sindh Additional Advocate General Qasim Mirjat said that a bill pertaining to local bodies elections has been prepared and tabled in the provincial assembly. (By Monday evening, the Sindh assembly passed the bill).

After the amendments in the provincial elections laws, the ECP would be able to carry out delimitation of constituencies in Sindh and Punjab.

ECP counsel Akram Sheikh submitted that at least five months would be required for making preliminary preparation as well as arrangement of biometric system for holding local bodies elections in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The counsel further informed the court that a meeting had been held between the election commission officials and the provincial authorities for making preliminary arrangements to ensure holding of local bodies elections in the province.

The court directed the ECP and KP government to complete the process and submit its report within a month so that LB polls could be held in the province.

The court also directed the Punjab and Sindh government to complete legislation process for holding local bodies elections by October 30.

Akram Sheikh contended before the court that delimitation of constituencies in 45 days in not reasonable, adding that the process could take at least 6 months. He requested the court to hear the plea, earlier submitted by the Election Commission of Pakistan regarding delimitation of constituencies in 45 days.

The court however, observed that after the Sindh and Punjab completes its legislation process for the delimitation of constituencies, the ECP's plea would be heard and adjourned the hearing until October 30.

Plea for annulment of death sentence admitted

Online adds: The Supreme Court (SC) on Monday admitted for regular hearing a petition seeking annulment of death sentence of 9,000 prisoners.

Justice Jawwad S Khawaja took up for in-chamber hearing of a petition filed by Barrister Zafarullah.

The learned counsel advanced arguments against objections raised by the apex court registrar in respect of his petition and took the plea that enough period had lapsed ever since death sentences were awarded to these convicts and their sentences had not been implemented. During this period they had served enough prison term. Now they were entitled to be released. Therefore, they be set free and their death sentence be quashed.

He further told the court that the objections raised by registrar were of ordinary nature due to which course of dispensation of justice could not be blocked.

He prayed to the court to set aside registrar’s objections and admit the petition for hearing. 

The petition is likely to be heard today (Tuesday).