Officials met at Chief Minister House on Wednesday to finalise the Sindh government’s response to be submitted to the Supreme Court on why local bodies elections were being delayed.
The elections have not taken place since the last local government (LG) ended in 2009. They were supposed to be scheduled within three months.
According to sources, the officials decided to argue Sindh’s case on the verification of electoral rolls and delimitation of constituencies as main factors responsible for the delay. It was decided that Advocate-General Sindh Fatah Malik would present the province.
Later, talking to The Express Tribune, Malik confirmed that he would be appearing before the SC. He said that Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhary, during a recent hearing on law and order in Balochistan, had directed the chief secretaries of all provinces to submit a report on the delay.
“The chief justice has linked the law and order situation to socio-economic development through the LG system,” he said. He will request the chief justice to issue directives to the Election Commission to speed up the verification of electoral rolls followed by the delimitation of constituencies.
“Election cannot be held without authentic electoral rolls and a demarcation of constituencies,” he said.
There has been deadlock between Sindh’s coalition government partners – the Pakistan Peoples Party and Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) – over the local government system. They are both preparing drafts of an LG system but there is little agreement.
Wednesday’s meeting was attended, among others, by Sindh Chief Secretary Raja Muhammad Abbas, Law Secretary Syed Ghulam Nabi Shah, Principal Secretary to the CM Agha Jan Akhtar.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 12th, 2012.