Wednesday Dec 21 2022

PTI files contempt of court plea against govt over change of UCs in Islamabad

Islamabad High Court (IHC) building. — IHC website
Islamabad High Court (IHC) building. — IHC website 

  • Petition says govt increased UCs despite court's order not to. 
  • Requests action against PM Shehbaz, others. 
  • PML-N's Shehzad Aurangzeb files plea to stop LG polls in Islamabad. 

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Ali Nawaz Awan on Wednesday filed a contempt of court petition against the federal government at the Islamabad High Court regarding the increase in the union councils of the federal capital.

The petition states that the high court has already given a verdict regarding the issue of the union council. It added that the court has stopped the increase in the number of union councils.

The government has committed contempt of court by increasing the number of union councils, read the petition. Awan, in his petition, also requested contempt of court action against Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and others.

Plea to stop LG polls 

Meanwhile, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Shehzad Aurangzeb has also filed a plea, seeking to stop the local government elections in Islamabad that are scheduled to take place on December 31.

The petition stated that the federal government has increased the number of union councils from 101 to 125. "The Election Commission of Pakistan should be refrained from conducting elections based on the old voter list," stated the petition.

The electoral body's notification was restricted to only 101 UCs, said the petition, adding that these 101 unions do not exist. It further said that the government has also proposed amendments to the Local Government Act.

Federal govt increases UCs in Islamabad

A day earlier, the federal government approved a summary to increase the number of union councils of the federal capital from existing 101 to 125. 

The summary stated that the Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad administrator — deputy commissioner — has said that the present number of union councils is 101 as fixed on the basis of 2017 census. However, the population of Islamabad increased to 205 million in the last five years and therefore, it is appropriate that the number of UCs may be enhanced to 125.

It stated that Section 4 (1) and 6 (1) of the Islamabad Capital Territory Local Government Act, 2015 authorises the federal government to determine the number of union councils within Islamabad through notification published in the official gazette.

The move is eyebrow-raising as it comes only a few days before the upcoming local bodies polls in Islamabad. 

The Election Commission of Pakistan has already made it clear the local body polls for Islamabad would be held on December 31. 

At present, the office of the Returning Officer of Islamabad is in process of training polling staff and deputing them at different polling stations.