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LG polls: LHC takes up plea for implementing Articles 62, 63

15 January, 2014

LAHORE: Justice Aminuddin Khan of the Lahore High Court (LHC) on Monday issued notice to the Election Commission of Pakistan, Federal Board of Revenue, National Accountability Bureau, Federal Investigation Agency and inspector general of Punjab Police on a petition seeking implementation of constitutional provisions 62 and 63 on candidates for local government (LG) polls like in general elections.

The judge sought replies from the respondents in the last week of January. A lawyer, Munir Ahmad, had moved the petition.

The petitioner's counsel, Muhammad Azhar Siddique, submitted that the constitution laid down criteria of qualification/disqualification for the election of public representatives in articles 62 and 63. He said that the newly promulgated Punjab Local Government Act 2013 contained no such criteria for the candidates; thus allowing the convicted, bank defaulters, dual nationals and fake degree holders to contest LG polls.

He said that "highly sensible, educated and qualified persons" were required to be elected.

"A union councillor also has to act as an arbitrator in family matters while dealing with divorce related disputes and if an uneducated and unqualified person is elected, how could he be able to dispense justice?"

He submitted that in the interest of justice and fair play it was necessary to implement articles 62 and 63.

He said that even otherwise there was need for specifying instructions, rules and regulations for laying down the mode and manner for determination of qualification or disqualification criteria of LG candidates.

He requested the court to summon details of qualified and disqualified candidates for LG elections such as details of their income tax, sales tax, agricultural tax, professional tax and degree record.

He said that the Election Commission and government of Punjab have failed to fulfil these requirements and, therefore, the court should summon IGP, FIA DG, NAB chairman and FBR to ensure that no tax defaulter, fake degree holder or a criminal could take part in LG elections.

He also requested that the federal government should be asked to explain what instructions, if any, had been relayed to returning officers for determining a candidate's viability. In particular, he said, it should say whether fake degree holders, loan defaulters, tax evaders and dual nationals would be barred from contesting elections.

End.

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