ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday turned down a petition filed by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) against the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) decision to postpone the scheduled local government elections in the federal capital.
A two-member bench of IHC, headed by Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kiyani, declared the petition ineffective after hearing arguments from the ECP and the PTI counsel.
During the hearing, the ECP officials said the LG polls in Islamabad, which were slated to be held on Dec 31, had been delayed owing to the government’s decision to increase the number of union councils in the federal capital.
Meanwhile, Justice Kiyani remarked that the ECP was not interested in holding local bodies’ elections in Islamabad, asking whether the government was “sleeping” before the issuance of the schedule. Neither the current nor the previous regime was interested in holding LG polls, he said. The court continued to comment saying that earlier an affidavit was submitted in the Supreme Court for holding the election whereas now the government was showing reluctance. “This act falls under the ambit of contempt of court”, remarked the court.
The PTI lawyer told the bench that three chairmen and 50 members were elected without elections in the capital city. Justice Kiyani remarked: “Why shouldn’t the court suspend the powers of administrators?”. He remarked that the Capital Development Authority (CDA) had no authority to use the funds of the local government.
The additional attorney general argued that the local governments in all four provinces were being run by unelected members.
A day earlier, the ECP postponed the LG polls scheduled for Dec 31 in Islamabad “for the time being” due to the government’s decision to increase the number of union councils in the capital city. A five-member bench, headed by Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja, issued the order after hearing arguments from the federal government and the counsel for the PTI and the JI in the case.
During Tuesday’s hearing, federal government’s counsel Ashtar Ausaf, the former attorney general of Pakistan, informed the bench that the decision to increase the number of union councils was based on the increase in population.