SHC dismisses pleas seeking postponement of LG polls in Sindh

MQM-P hints at appealing decision in Supreme Court; PTI eyes contempt proceedings against ECP, Sindh govt

Nasir Butt June 24, 2022
A file photo of the Sindh High Court building.

The Sindh High Court (SHC) has refused to delay local bodies polls in Sindh as it rejected petitions filed by political parties, particularly the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), seeking postponement of the elections.

A two-member bench headed by Justice Muhammad Junaid Ghaffar was hearing the case.

Following the hearing, MQM-P lawyer Farogh Nasim hinted at challenging the high court's order in the apex court. He said the response submitted by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to the court was not based on solid grounds.

“The electoral rolls have not been completed as of yet but they [ECP] want to hold elections,” he said, adding that the voter lists will be complete by Aug 12 and elections should only be held after their finalisation.

Read ECP snubs Punjab by-polls rigging claim

PTI lawyer Chaudhry Asif said the Supreme Court, in its order, had asked the government to allocate separate funds to the local bodies and make them autonomous.

Justice Ghaffar remarked that the top court had also directed the government to hold elections. The lawyer replied that the court had asked for legislation first and then elections. “If polls are conducted like this then the local government will be the weakest ever,” he cautioned.

The ECP lawyer apprised the bench that the election watchdog was not responsible for all the mistakes. They said the ECP was preparing voters lists for the 2023 general election and that the work on lists for local government polls had been stopped. In its earlier response, the ECP had opposed the postponement of the polls.

Justice Ghaffar asked why did the ECP fail to hold elections in 120 days. The lawyer responded that the polls were delayed due to delimitations. The first phase of the local bodies election will be held in Sindh a day after tomorrow (June 26). At least 27,000 candidates are contesting the election and Rs500 million has been spent on the preparations.

The lawyer said the ECP was also prepared to hold 2nd phase of elections and added that anyone could challenge the delimitations. “Reservations had been raised on 2 per cent of the delimitations,” the lawyer said, adding that appeals against these were being processed.

Read more Islamabad LG polls hit snags again

The lawyer representing the Sindh government said the government was ready to comply with the court order as it had placed all the details before the bench for a decision in the case.

The SHC, after the arguments concluded, said the polls would be held on time. A detailed ruling will be issued later.

MQM-P lawyer Nasim said he would approach the Supreme Court against the decision of the SHC.

Meanwhile, PTI MPA Firdous Shamim said the PTI would file a contempt plea against the ECP and the Sindh government. He said the SC had asked the Sindh government to legislate over the issue in February but the government had failed to do so despite a passage of four months.


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