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SC gives Punjab, Sindh 10 days to legislate on LG polls

21 October, 2014

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ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Monday directed the Punjab and Sindh governments to complete their legislative process regarding local government (LG) elections until October 30.

Hearing a suo motu case regarding LG elections, a three-judge bench led by Chief Justice of Pakistan Nasirul Mulk and comprising Justice Ameer Haani Muslim and Justice Ejaz Chaudhry also accepted Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) plea which sought one month time for preliminary preparations for conducting LG elections.

During the course of proceedings, Attorney General (AG) Salman Aslam Butt informed the bench that the federal government had issued two ordinances regarding delimitation of constituencies and preparation of voter lists.

He said that prerogative of delimitation of electoral districts and voting areas would be transferred from provincial government to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to enable it to carry out delimitation work.

Razzaq A Mirza, counsel for the Punjab government, apprised the court that the amendment bill for LG elections had been prepared which would be presented before the assembly on October 20.

Separately, five ordinances, including the Local Government Ordinance 2014 and six bills were tabled in the Punjab Assembly for approval on Monday. The Punjab Assembly session was commenced with Speaker Rana Iqbal in the chair.

The bench remarked that after completion of legislation process, the court could consider this application and directed Punjab and Sindh governments to complete legislation process by October 30 and adjourned the case until then. The CJP said, "The ECP should tell after consultation with provinces when it will be in a position to hold LB polls. We cannot give more time than this."

Justice Muslim said, "Much time has already been spent. Now the LB polls should take place."

Sheikh told about the application of the ECP that it has reached the conclusion that four to five months were required for holding the LB polls so that all the institutions, including printing press, could finalise their matters.

The CJP remarked, "When can we become able so that schedule for LB polls can be issued?"

The ECP lawyer said, "The LB polls will be conducted as soon as possible when the matters are finalized." Justice Amir Hani Muslim observed, "Is meaning of as soon as is one year." Sheikh said it would not be done so.

The CJP said, "We give you only one month time to take the steps. We will give final date for LB polls."

The ECP counsel said, "We will give report in a month on what steps have been taken."

In the last hearing, the court had directed the federal government to appoint a permanent chief election commissioner (CEC) by October 28. The CJP remarked that judges of the Supreme Court had been serving as acting CEC for one year, which was affecting the court's performance. The bench had also threatened to withdraw the nomination of its judge, Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali, who is presently acting as the chief election commissioner.

End.

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