SC asks ECP to give date for LB polls by 21st
15 October, 2013
LAHORE: Chief Justice (CJ) Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry said on Monday that a violation of the Constitution was unacceptable and asked the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to come up with a date for holding the local bodies (LB) elections across the country by October 21.
A three-member bench of the Supreme Court took up the LB polls case asking all the four provincial governments to come up with a clear-cut stance and date on holding the local bodies elections.
The bench, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, also sought a progress report on the court orders pertaining to the local bodies (LB) election. Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) Secretary Ishtiak Ahmed, KP advocate general and Punjab Additional Advocate General Hanif Khatana appeared before the court.
At the outset, the Election Commission confirmed that three provinces, except for the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, had laid down the relevant law and rules for holding the LB election but in the KP, neither had a law been made nor had delimitation work been completed.
The bench comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, Justice Jawwad S Khawaja and Justice Sh Azmat Saeed is hearing a constitutional petition against non-holding of local governments' elections throughout the country.
During the hearing, the CJ expressed annoyance over the inordinate delay on the part of provincial governments and said no one would be allowed to violate the Constitution and law. The CJ said people had been given a lollypop, as no election had been held since 2008. "It seems that no one is ready to follow the Constitution and law," the CJ remarked.
Justice Khawaja said courts or judges would not gain anything if the elections were held and they only wanted the enforcement of law. "It looks that political parties are violating their party manifestos," Chief Justice Iftikhar remarked and addressed the KP AG that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government in the KP had made a 90 days but it seemed government had backed out of its promise. Justice Khawaja said political governments wanted the judiciary to do their job of holding election.
The CJ made it clear if court orders were not obeyed, the government functionaries would face consequences. Justice Sh Azmat said though it was hard to delegate powers to others, the provincial governments should show open heartedness in this regard.
ECP Secretary, however, requested for more time to complete homework for elections. This annoyed Justice Khawaja who said no progress had been made in one and a half years. The court adjourned hearing till October 21 and Justice Saeed remarked that the ECP had conducted general election.
In a related development, a division bench of the Lahore High Court sought reply from the Punjab government about objection to delimitation of constituencies for local bodies election in the province.
As hearing started, PTI's counsel told the court that Punjab government is conducting delimitation, which is the job of Election Commission, with mala fide intention just to give undue favour to its favorites. The court will resume hearing by October 18.