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Holding of LB polls is a must: CJ Iftikhar

11 December, 2012

ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry on Monday said that holding of local bodies' elections was a constitutional order, which must be complied with, adding that state affairs would become smooth after ensuring the rule of law.

A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, resumed hearing on identical petitions challenging the Sindh People's Local Government Ordinance 2012 (SPLGO).

The Supreme Court sought notifications from the Sindh government declaring various districts of the province as metropolitan and fixing their territorial limits.The court directed one of the petitioners to submit a comparative analysis of all the local government systems, which prevailed in Pakistan from the colonial era to-date at the next hearing.

During the proceedings, the chief justice questioned the grounds on which a few cities had been declared metropolitan in an administrative division while the others were not treated equally.

The chief justice further observed that if all the powers were delegated to the district government, then the provincial governments should be abolished. He observed, "Is this not discrimination that wealthy districts have been intentionally separated from the rest?"

A petitioner, Barrister Zamir Hussain Ghumro, submitted that the SPLGO was in conflict with the Constitution through which the local government had been converted into the provincial government.

Giving a break-up of the towns and districts in Karachi, he said all the 18 towns and five districts in Karachi were metropolitan in status, adding that the city government was not fully metropolitan but a separate authority, divided into urban and rural categories.

The chief justice questioned the criteria adopted to declare a district or town as metropolitan and sought notifications from the concerned authorities in this regard.Justice Gulzar Ahmed remarked that if there were no criteria and all had been done on sole discretion, then the executing authority should be held responsible.

Meanwhile, the court directed Advocate General, Sindh, to produce all the notifications before the bench on the next hearing to be held on December 17.

End.

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