ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court rejected on Wednesday the schedule of local government elections in Islamabad, while ordering the Election Commission of Pakistan to issue a new schedule for the local bodies polls.
“Needless to say, in view of the fact that the expected legislation is not as yet in place, the Election Commission of Pakistan may notify a revised schedule for the said elections if this becomes necessary on account of delays in Parliament”, said the three-judge bench, headed by Justice Jawwad S Khawaja.
The elections were previously scheduled for July 25. However, due to the absence of a relevant law, the court has rejected the schedule. Moreover, the hearing of the case is adjourned until August 3.
The bench however observed that the citizens of the Islamabad Capital Territory still appear to be waiting for local government elections as the last such elections were held in the Islamabad Capital Territory in 1992 and already a period of 23 years has elapsed since then.
“The urgency in the matter and the need to provide elected Local Governments at the grass-roots level, at the earliest, cannot be gainsaid, particularly in view of the fact that Local Government Elections have already been held in Balochistan, K-P and in the Cantonment Boards while such election in Sindh and Punjab are scheduled for mid-September”, the order said.
On Tuesday, an amendment bill was submitted in the Senate, seeking constitutional cover for the implementation of the local government system in Islamabad and other parts of the country.
“Due to lack of constitutional cover for the local government and non-availability of the system, some provinces, federal capital and cantonment areas have been deprived of LG elections,” said Independent Senator Mohsin Khan Leghari, who submitted the bill.
Read: Senate rules against LG polls in Islamabad
Earlier on Monday, the country’s top court sought an update from the government on the status of the legislation on local government system in the federal capital.
A three-judge bench headed by Justice Jawwad S Khawaja directed the government attorney to inform the court on Tuesday on the status of the Islamabad Capital Territory Local Government Bill 2015 bill pending in the Senate.
Read: ICT LG bill: Supreme Court seeks update on pending legislation
The bench expressed doubts over holding of local government elections as per schedule and directed the additional attorney-general to present the government’s point of view on the status of the bill pending before the Senate.