Serious boundary issues: Court issues notice to ECP on PPP plea against delimitation

SHC has also sought comments on a petition regarding delimitation in Naushero Feroze.

Our Correspondent March 27, 2013
Many districts of Karachi have been merged into other districts.

KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) issued a notice on Tuesday to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), seeking its comments on a Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) petition challenging the proposed delimitation of a National Assembly constituency in Karachi.

On Monday PPP had gone to the high court, challenging the delimitation of NA-230. Abdul Qadir Patel, the president of the party’s Karachi chapter, said that the election commission had included three defunct union councils of Baldia Town and two of Keamari Town in the constituency, without providing any justification. “The RCD Highway separates Baldia Town from Keamari Town and the constituency should be redrawn in the light of this information,” he said in his petition.

But ECP did not consult stakeholders at the time of delimitation, he claimed. “This is a violation of the provisions of the Constitution as well as the rights of the people.” Patel pleaded the court to declare the delimitation of NA-239 as illegal.

After the preliminary hearing, the bench, headed by Justice Maqbool Baqir, issued notices to a number of people, including ECP members and the provincial election commissioner, directing them to file their comments by March 27.

Other pleas, other orders

The same bench also issued notices to the chief election commissioner and provincial election commissioner on a plea seeking contempt proceedings as the electoral constituencies in Naushero Feroze have yet to be redrawn. The boundaries remain to be redrawn despite the high court’s order to complete this before the announcement of the general elections schedule.

Politician Syed Mureed Ali Shah had gone to court, alleging that the chief secretary and provincial election commission had deliberately not implemented directions issued by the high court on April 19 last year.

In his petition, Shah said that the district, which has a population of 828,975 according to the 1981 census, was bifurcated on November 5, 1989. In 1990, the then caretaker prime minister Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi allegedly influenced the delimitation process to secure his own interests, claimed Shah.

He added that on April 19 last year, the high court, while disposing of his petition, had directed the chief election commissioner and provincial election commissioner to redraw constituencies in Naushero Feroze. He alleged that the election commission had not taken steps for delimitation although all legal formalities had been fulfilled. He pleaded the judges to initiate contempt proceedings against the chief and provincial election commissioners.

After hearing the arguments, the bench issued notice to the ECP, provincial election commissioner and others for filing their comments by March 27. This petition as well as the one filed by PPP have been tagged with MQM’s plea against the redrawing of three National Assembly and eight provincial assembly constituencies in Karachi.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 27th, 2013.


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