Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah has said that the exercise of delimitation of union councils was carried out by the Election Commission of Pakistan and not the provincial government and, therefore, the EC should be held responsible for it.
The incumbent Chief Justice of Pakistan was heading the commission at the time of the exercise. Addressing a press conference at the Chief Minister’s House on Wednesday, he said, “The election commission had delegated to the deputy commissioners the power of district returning officers for the delimitation of union councils. The chief election commissioner himself was supposed to supervise it. No one should blame us. The provincial government has nothing to do with it,” he said.
The chief minister announced that the provincial government would challenge the Sindh High Court’s decision of declaring the amendment to the Sindh Local Government Act 2013 as unconstitutional in the apex court. The SHC had extended a favour to the petitioners, he added. “The court, in its verdict, has given relief to the petitioners on those matters which were not even mentioned in the prayers. We were surprised to see the judgment of the court and will request the Supreme Court to give us more time for the holding of elections.”
The chief minister, while referring to Article 140-A of the Constitution, said that it was the provincial government’s prerogative to hold the local government elections. “No other authority has a right to interfere in its affairs.”
Consultation with MQM
Shah went on to say that they always consulted with the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) before making any laws and the campaign started by the party makes no sense. “We want to promote a democratic culture in the province and want to talk to the MQM on different issues in the interest of the people, but our friends are not paying heed,” he said.
Shah said that a committee had already been formed on the directives of former President Asif Ali Zardari to woo the enraged party leaders. He hoped the two parties would reach an understanding soon.
On the occasion, two local leaders of the Pakistan Muslim League-Functional - Syed Mohammad Shah and Chakar Khan Shahani - announced that they would join the Pakistan Peoples Party. The leaders were working as the president and the vice-president of the PML-F in Dadu district, respectively.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 2nd, 2014.
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