ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Friday directed the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to hold elections for the posts of mayor and deputy mayor of Karachi through a secret ballot within 60 days.
A three-judge bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali was hearing a petition lodged by the Sindh government against several appellants.
Election of mayors: Sindh challenges SHC order on secret ballot
The court stated that a previous amendment in the Sindh Local Government Act, 2013 under section 18, which required a show of hands to vote had 'legal effect' as it came after the election schedule was announced.
The amendment came in January 2016, while the schedule was already announced in August 2015. The court added that "as per the Sindh Act No XXXVIII of 2015, elections for these posts will be held through a secret ballot."
During the session, the top court ordered ECP to ensure successful elections for reserved seats of Sindh local bodies, as well as for the office of chairman and vice chairman.
While announcing an order over the Sindh government's appeal against the Sindh High Court (SHC), the apex court observed that all notifications regarding transfers and postings of bureaucrats issued by the appellant after the announcement of election schedule for Sindh local bodies (May 30, 2015) without prior approval from the ECP were of 'no legal effect'.
No concept of secret balloting in Islam: CJ
The SC further ordered that a copy of the respective order be sent through fax to the Secretary, ECP; Chief Secretary, Government of Sindh, and other concerned authorities for their information and compliance.
In February, the Sindh government challenged the SHC’s order to declare the amendment in the local government law as void, whereby secret balloting had been replaced with a show of hands for electing mayors, deputy mayors and other local government representatives in the province.
The Sindh government filed an appeal in the Supreme Court against the SHC’s February 10 order, saying that the executive power under the constitution has been unduly impaired, restrained and restricted as a result of that judgment. The petition were drafted by Farooq H Naek advocate.