IHC Reserves Verdicts In Petitions Against LG Elections

ISLAMABAD, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News – 23rd Dec, 2022 ) :The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Friday reserved its judgment on identical petitions with regard to the local body elections in Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT).

Chief Justice remarked that the court couldn’t pass directions to ECP as it was an independent constitutional institution and regulatory body.

Chief Justice Aamer Farooq heard identical petitions regarding an increase in the number of union councils and changes in the voter lists. Attorney General of Pakistan Ashtar Ausaf, Additional Attorney General Munawar Dogal, Advocate General Jahangir Jadoon, DG Legal ECPAli Nawaz Awan and others appeared before the court.

At the outset of the hearingJahangir Jadoon argued that the interior ministry had issued a notification on December 19, regarding the increase in the number of union councils but the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had rejected it by using the power of suo-moto. The ECP had not heard the federation or Metropolitan Corporation, he said.

He further said that the Federal capital had been distributed in 125 union councils, adding that it was the responsibility of the ECP to conduct delimitation. The chief justice remarked that the circle of Islamabad was already declared. The increase in number would reduce the size of union councils, he said, and asked whether it wouldn’t affect the local area.

Advocate General Islamabad said that the delimitation of the UCs would be done by the ECP on the basis of population and it wouldn’t affect the local area.

AGP Ashtar Ausaf adopted the stance that the ECP was bound to conduct delimitations after the increase in the number of UCs. He said that after the delimitations changes would also be made to voter lists.

The additional attorney general informed the court that the local body bill had been approved by the national assembly and now would be presented to the upper house.

Now the mayor and the deputy mayors would be elected directly, he said. He asked whether the ECP had the authority to disobey the notification of the federal government.

The chief justice remarked that the ECP was of the view that the UCs were increased after the local body elections schedule was announced. The ECP had stated that the next elections could be conducted as per the new UCs, the court noted.

On the query related to the changes in voter lists, DG Legal ECP said that the process for the change was done. He also produced the record related to the amendments in voter lists. ` Petitioner’s lawyer adopted the stance that voters of Golra UC had been shifted to Rawat UC and the same complaints were found in other UCs as well. The ECP had stated that the correction couldn’t be made after the announcement of the election schedule, he said.

He said that the voters couldn’t be deprived of their right to vote and if it was so the election would be purposeless. The election wouldn’t be free and fair if it were conducted with a lot of mistakes, he said.

The ECP‘s DG said that the complainants had arrived too late, adding that they should have come at the time of the process. The local body elections should be held on its time, he said.

The chief justice remarked that any political party that come into power didn’t show interest in local body elections. The political analyst could tell the reason for it, he said.

The court remarked that the election should have been conducted when the previous tenure was completed in 2020. The problems of the federal capital could be addressed when a Dehli model Parliament would be introduced here.

The bench reserved the verdict after listening to arguments from the lawyers.

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