ISLAMABAD : The Supreme Court has rejected the plea of former Sindh home minister Zulfiqar Mirza to grant a stay against the oath of councilors elected on reserved seats.
Mirza had filed a constitutional petition under Article 184(3) of the Constitution challenging the ultra vires of Section 18-A of the Sindh Local Government Act, 2013 as independent candidates have been barred from being elected on the reserved seats for women, minorities, labourers/peasants and youth in various local councils. Mirza parted ways with the Pakistan People’s Party in 2014 and later contested in 2015 the local bodies elections in Sindh independently, winning a majority of the seats in his hometown Badin.
Salahuddin Ahmed, the applicant’s counsel, urged the bench to stay the oath of the councillors who became members on reserved seats. He said millions of voters and hundreds of independent candidates in Sindh have been deprived of their fundamental rights due to the enactment of Section 18-A of the LG act. He contended that through this law, the elections on reserved seats have been converted to a system of proportionate allocation of seats based on party-strength in the concerned local council.
However, the two-judge bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali said, “We will not pass an order to stay the election process in Sindh, which has already been delayed.” The bench issued notices to the Sindh government, Election Commission of Pakistan and attorney-general of Pakistan and adjourned the hearing till next week.
The oath-taking of the candidates elected on reserved seats in local councils is scheduled to be held today (August 2), while the election of mayors and deputy mayors in various councils is to be held on August 24.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 2nd, 2016.