Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Local body elections postponed in Islamabad

IHC tells ECP to complete fresh delimitation of constituencies, issue new schedule in 65 days

A voter casts her ballot at a polling station in Islamabad, on November 30, 2015. — AFP
A voter casts her ballot at a polling station in Islamabad, on November 30, 2015. — AFP

ISLAMABAD: Local body elections in the capital have been postponed, with the Islamabad High Court on Wednesday directing the Election Commission of Pakistan to complete fresh delimitation of constituencies and issue a new schedule in 65 days.

A hearing was held today on petitions related to local body elections in Islamabad at the request of PML-N, PPP and PTI.

The parties had sought a delay in the polls, making a case for revised delimitation after the government increased the number of union councils from 50 to 101.

The ECP had notified polls on July 31 in 50 union councils of the capital.

The hearing was conducted by IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah.

When it began, the chief justice asked the ECP what their decision is regarding the local government elections in Islamabad.

"The ECP has given a clear position on local body elections under the government notification," the officials told the court.

The chief justice inquired: "In how many days will the election be held?"

"Elections can be held in 60 to 65 days," the Election Commission officials said.

Justice Minallah then proceeded to review some complaints received regarding the polls.

He directed the Election Commission to not transfer votes from one ward to another.

The ECP officials said that first a new delimitation process will take place over 60 days and then a schedule for local body elections will be announced.

They requested the court to order the federal government to cooperate in local body elections. "Governments obstruct local elections," they complained.

"The court should order the federal government to fulfil constitutional obligations of local body elections," they pleaded.

Justice Minallah noted that the parties' requests to delay elections have been "rendered ineffective".

The Election Commission should announce the election schedule after fresh delimitation in 65 days, the court ruled.