Controversy: ‘Bill will be passed in current Senate session’

AAG offers assurance after court questions veracity of past claims

Hasnaat Malik July 07, 2015

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad Capital Territory Local Government bill 2015 will be passed in the ongoing Senate session.

This assurance was offered to the Supreme Court by Additional Attorney General (AAG) Chaudhry Amir Rehman, after a three-member bench headed by Justice Jawwad S Khawaja asked the federal government whether or not it will hold LG polls in the capital on July 25. The bench had also asked what law the elections would be held under.

During the hearing, Justice Khawaja observed that if the LG Act 1979 has not been repealed, then elections can be held under it, adding that in view of Article 140-A,  the court can direct the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to hold elections in ICT even in the absence of a specific law.

Justice Khawaja observed that the court has made a mistake by placing faith in the attorney general’s (AGP) statement that the federal government would pass a law regarding LG polls in Islamabad. He said the main objective of court proceedings was to take democracy down to the grassroots, adding that hearings in this case have been ongoing since 2012.

Justice Khawaja said the court cannot direct parliament to legislate, but it can ask the federal government to act on issues relating to the fundamental rights of citizens.

The AAG submitted that the 2002 LG Ordinance still exists, but in the absence of a notification being issued, elections cannot be held.

The case was then adjourned till today (Wednesday),

Meanwhile, a senior law officer told The Express Tribune that the July 25 LG polling date was unrealistic and it would likely have to be extended.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 8th, 2015.


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