IHC orders ECP to hold local govt elections in Islamabad on Saturday

IHC orders ECP to hold local govt elections in Islamabad on Saturday


IHC orders ECP to hold LG elections in Islamabad on Saturday

ISLAMABAD (Dunya News) – The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Friday ordered the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to hold local government elections in the federal capital on Saturday (Dec 31). 

Earlier, the commission had informed the court that it was ready to hold the local government elections in the federal capital in four months. The top election body stated this in its reply as the high court ordered it to submit a timeline for holding elections in Islamabad. 

The LG polls in the capital city were scheduled to be held on Dec 31 but the ECP postponed these due to government’s decision of increasing the number of union councils (UCs) in the city. The ECP said it was serious in performing its constitutional duty to hold election on time, while putting the blame of delay in the LG polls on the federal and provincial governments. 

It pointed out that untimely amendments made by the governments in the laws created impediments in the path of LG polls, adding that the ECP had announced schedule for the polls in Islamabad but it was declared null and void by the high court. The ECP had also proposed amendments to the Election Act 219 and Article 140-A of the Constitution, arguing that the change would bar the governments from amending the laws when the elections are near. 

On Thursday, the IHC instructed the top election body to submit the local government elections’ new timeline on Friday after holding consultation with the federal government. Justice Arbab Muhammad Tahir, who heard the pleas filed by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and the Jamaat-e-Islami, challenging the commission’s notification of postponment of the LG elections in the federal capital, also sought written arguments from the Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) and the ECP.

The court asked the ECP official whether the commission was ready to conduct the elections on Dec 31 as the government was referring the matter to it. 

The ECP director general said it would take time to transport the election material. Holding elections on Dec 31 was not possible in the new situation. The commission’s lawyer said the election act authorised the federal government to increase the number of UCs in the capital.

After hearing the arguments, the court instructed the AGP and the ECP to submit their written reply on Friday.

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