ECP defies court order for holding LG polls in Islamabad on Saturday

ECP defies court order for holding LG polls in Islamabad on Saturday


ECP defies court order for holding LG polls in Islamabad on Saturday

ISLAMABAD (Dunya News) – Despite clear orders from the Islamabad High Court to hold local government (LG polls) polls in the capital city on Saturday (Dec 31), the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) failed to comply with the orders as polling process could not begin yet.

The polling process was to start at 8am but the elections staff has not reached the polling stations till the filing of this report as the top election body last night reportedly expressed its inability to hold elections on a short notice. It had sought seven days to conduct LG polls in the capital city.

A number of people reached polling stations in different areas, including Saidpur village, to use their right to vote but they were shocked to see that polling staff was not present there. 

On Friday, the IHC ordered the ECP to conduct the LG election as per the schedule. Justice Arbab Muhammad Tahir issued the orders while hearing petition of the PTI and JI against the election body’s verdict to delay the polls “for the time being” due to government’s decision to increase the number of union councils (UCs).

Following the verdict, the ECP convened an emergency meeting last night when it was told that more than 14,000 members of the polling staff were teachers and employees of other departments and they were on winter vacation, hence making it difficult to conduct the election.

Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah said on Friday though the government respected court’s ruling, the local government elections would not be possible before four months.

Speaking to the media, Mr Sanaullah claimed that there were already threats in Islamabad due to a suicide bombing in the I-10 area a few days back.

He said that making the arrangement of 1,000 polling stations on an immediate basis was not possible. He said it would take at least 10 months to hold the general election -- likely in October.

Meanwhile, the federal government and ECP are likely to file an intra-court appeal on Saturday against the IHC orders for LG elections.