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LB polls be not delayed for indefinite period: CJP Jillani

09 January, 2014

ISLAMABAD: Supreme Court (SC) has admitted for hearing the petitions filed by the Sindh government, MQM and other political parties in Local Bodies (LB) polls case.

A 3-member bench of SC headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Tassaduq Hussain Jillani took up the case for hearing Wednesday.

The SC has refused to grant interim relief to Sindh government against Sindh High Court (SHC) decision besides fixing all the petitions for hearing on January, 27.

Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has filed in SC new schedule for conducting LB polls in Sindh and Punjab saying that it can hold LB polls in Sindh on February, 23 and in Punjab on March, 13 adding that it is facing multiple problems including printing of ballot papers.

CJP remarked "LB polls should not be delayed for indefinite period. Holding LB polls is responsibility of ECP and provincial governments. We want to give decision after hearing all matters in details.

The court also admitted for hearing the petition filed in connection with LB polls in cantonment boards and Islamabad and issued notices to ECP, federal government, Islamabad administration and parties concerned. Court has also summoned Additional Attorney General (AAG) Shah Khawar today.

During the course of hearing of petition filed by Sindh government against LB polls, Advocate General (AG) Sindh Khalid Javed said loophole lies in the laws on delimitation of constituencies because the laws were enacted in haste.

Justice Azmat Saeed " either there is loophole in laws only or there is pressure from some other side too".

AG Sindh said " No such thing is there. Loophole is there only in laws. The real problem is that the delimitation of constituencies was made ahead of enactment of laws.

CJP inquired if he had evolved chart with reference to amended ordinance.

AG Sindh said third amendment was introduced in LB ordinance on December, 13, 2013 which was made part of official gazette.

Justice Azmat Saeed remarked " you want to say that if they can not assemble 9 numbers they can not contest polls. Some other solution can be found in this respect.

CJP inquired if " you had done all this at the bidding of ECP.

AG Sindh said " ECP has not asked to do so.

Justice Azmat Saeed remarked " you have made amendment and you have to defend it too. Ground realities are only impediment.

CJP remarked " if some one wants to contest election independently then problem is what.

AG said 9 candidates are elected from one constituency, 3 on special and 6 on general assets. This way confusion is created for voters.

Justice Azmat remarked " you are conducting elections in Karachi and not in Florida.

AG said " difficulty will come on the way to counting of votes. If it is resolved then there is no problem for us.

CJP remarked " you want to increase union councils by decreasing population strength.

AG said " you please review Guddap town. Its area is widely extended.

CJP remarked " how Karachi has come to existence is no answer to our question.

CJP remarked " election schedule has been announced and now you are talking of changes.

AG said these changes have been made. Population census was not held. Besides 1984, 2001, 2004 and 2005 elections, the general elections were also wrong. It was said that population census would be held in 1998.

Justice Azmat Saeed remarked " as to why you don't carry out population census.

CJP remarked " if we admit the petition for hearing then what you say.

AG said " elections are round the corner. We also want polls are held as soon as possible.

Justice Khilji remarked " you have asked for holding the elections due to SC orders. Ahead of it you did not want to conduct polls.

AG said " former CJP Iftikhar Chaudhry had also said this that these elections would not be just. Let the electoral process to go complete. Elections be not stopped.

Akram Sheikh said two high courts have given decision and have set aside delimitation of constituencies. The real cause is religious. If delimitation are eliminated then how the elections will take place. It is next to impossible for us to hold elections.

CJP remarked " will you hold the polls if we suspend the decision.

Secretary Election Commission said " date for January 18 has been given for Sindh and January 30 has been set for Punjab. Polls can not take place on these dates. Printing Corporation of Pakistan needs 3 weeks. Sindh government wants 2 weeks. One week is needed for distribution of ballot papers. We want February, 23 for Sindh.

Akram Sheikh said March 13 is the need of Punjab.

Farogh Nasim, counsel for MQM said "we are participating in the LB polls in Sindh and all over Pakistan. Scrutiny process has to be completed. Lahore High Court (LHC) has remarked these all matters will be got completed by election commission. Government has nothing to do with it. Please don't give relief as yet. Please give the decision by expediting the hearing of the case.

CJP remarked " leave aside interim relief. What will happen in terms of election?

Faroqgh Nasim said " scrutiny process has yet to be completed. SHC decision is correct. The directives which have been given be implemented. LHC decision is coming on Monday.

CJP remarked " we are not hearing it in details. It is preliminary hearing. Court has been told that if panel system is abolished then the matter will have to be started afresh.

Citing to Justice Azmat Saeed decision Farogh Nasim said " Justice Azmat Saeed has written in his decision that elections should be so transparent that they should be seen holding in transparent manner. Justice Azmat Saeed remarked " every man errs.

CJP remarked " we have heard you. Your political party is a national party. We will give decision after hearing all the matters in details. Now are you happy. SHC has also given you relief. CJP remarked ' LB polls should not be delayed for indefinite period. The court ruled all these matters will be heard on January, 27. Case with regard to Punjab will be heard on Monday.

End.

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