The Supreme Court has allowed the Election Commission (ECP) to issue a revised schedule for Local Government (LG) elections in Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT).
“Needless to say, in view of the fact that the expected legislation is not as yet in place, the ECP may notify a revised schedule for the said elections if this becomes necessary on account of delays in parliament,” said the three-member bench, headed by Justice Jawwad S Khawaja.
The bench notes in its order that the National Assembly passed the Local Government Bill on March 26, and since then, it is pending with the Senate.
The court adjourned the hearing till August3 after saying that it may consider the possibility of holding local government elections under existing legislation so that the citizens of ICT are not discriminated against and receive their right to elect local body representatives.
During the hearing, Additional Attorney General Aamir Rehman stated that a meeting on the subject was in progress and if the case could take up the case after 12:00pm, he will be able to provide complete information before the court.
But the bench had exhausted the cause list 11:15am and instead decided to hear the case in chambers.
Attorney General Salman Aslam Butt appeared before the bench in chamber and said that the LG bill had passed the committee stage in the senate on June 30, adding that the proposed legislation has since been placed in the current session of the Senate, and there is a reasonable expectation that the Senate will take a decision during the current week.
The bench, however, observed that the citizens of ICT still appear to be waiting for Local Government Elections as it has been 23 years since the last such elections were held in ICT in 1992.
“The urgency of the matter and the need to provide elected local governments at grassroots 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 cantonments, while elections in Sindh and Punjab are scheduled for mid-September,” the order says.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 9th, 2015.