The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Friday quashed the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) notification quashing the government’s announcement to increase the number of union councils in Islamabad and directed the poll body to hear all stakeholders before deciding to hold local elections. government elections in the federal capital.
The ECP will decide on December 27 whether the local elections in Islamabad will be held on December 31.
The Islamabad High Court on December 27 heard all parties including the government and directed the ECP to decide whether to hold local body polls in Islamabad on December 31 after increasing the number of union councils to 125.
On Friday, the IHC reserved its verdict till December 27 on a similar petition regarding the local body elections in Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT).
During the hearing, IHC Chief Justice Aamir Farooq said that the court could not issue directions to the ECP (poll) as it was an independent constitutional body and a regulatory body.
IHC Chief Justice Aamir Farooq heard similar petitions related to LG polls, increase in the number of union councils and changes in electoral rolls.
Attorney General of Pakistan Ashtar Ausaf, Attorney General Munawar Dogal, Advocate General Jahangir Jadun, General Judicial Review Committee, PTI leader Ali Nawaz Awan and others appeared before the court.
At the beginning of the hearing, Jahangir Jadun said that on December 19, the Ministry of Interior had issued a notification to increase the number of trade union councils, but it had rejected the union’s and Islamabad’s proposals using the powers of the Council of the European Union. Metropolitan Corporation.
He said that the federal capital has been allocated to 125 union councils, adding that the ECP will be responsible for delimitation. The Chief Justice noted that the boundaries of Islamabad had already been declared.
He said increasing the number would reduce the number of union councils and asked if it would affect local communities.
Advocate General Islamabad said UC boundaries will be done by ECP based on population and it will not affect localities. AGP Ashtar Ausaf took the stand that the ECP should fix the boundaries after increasing the number of UCs.
He said that after the boundaries are determined, the voter list will also be changed. The additional attorney general told the court that the local body bill had been passed by the national assembly and would now be presented in the upper house.
Now the mayor and deputy mayor will be elected directly. He asked whether the ECP had the right to not follow the federal government’s notification. The chief judge of the ICC noted that the number of IEPs was increased after the announcement of the schedule of local elections. The court said the ECP could hold the next elections under the new UC.
In the inquiry related to the changes in the voters’ list, the legal staff of EDP stated that the process of making changes has been completed. Also, a recording was made related to changes in the voter’s list. The petitioner’s counsel took the stand that voters of Golra UC were transferred to Rawat UC and the same complaint was found in other UCs. The ECP said that revisions cannot be made after the election schedule is announced. Voters should not be disenfranchised, he said, as the election would serve no purpose.
He said that if the election was conducted with a lot of errors, it would not be a fair and free election. The head of the State Department told the complainant that he had arrived too late and should have arrived during the trial. Local elections should be held as scheduled, he said.
The ECJ Chief Justice noted that any political party that came to power is not interested in participating in local elections. Political scientists can tell why, he said. The court noted that elections should have been held when the previous term ended in 2020. Here, when the Delhi Model Parliament is introduced, the problems in the federal capital can be addressed.
After listening to the lawyers’ explanations, the court reserved its decision until December 27.
(with additional entries from APP)
Published in The Express Tribune on December 24thThe year 2022.