KP indecisiveness about date for LG polls irks SC

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court has expressed its displeasure at the failure of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government to announce the date for holding local bodies’ elections.

A three-judge bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry conducted hearing in the case relating to the holding of local government elections here on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the administrations of Punjab and Balochistan said they had made preparations for the polls and were ready to hold the elections by Dec 7. The Sindh government said it was ready to hold the elections on Nov 27.

On the contrary, Advocate General Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Abdul Latif Yousufzai informed the court that KP was still debating over a date for the elections and that preparations in this regard were not complete.

Earlier on Monday, Yousufzai had informed the court that an amended law had been tabled in the KP provincial assembly with regard to the local government polls and that it would be adopted this week. He had said that delimitation had been delayed in the province because KP law minister Israrullah Gandapur, who was overseeing the entire process, was recently killed in a suicide attack. But delimitation has now been completed, Yousufzai had said during Monday’s hearing of the case.

During the hearing of the case on Wednesday, Additional Attorney General (AAG) Shah Khawar also said that a draft had been prepared by the federal government in relation to the holding of municipal elections in Islamabad. However, a date had not yet been decided, said Khawar.

The chief justice said all provinces are ready to hold the polls except KP and also emphasized that the court has high expectations from the federal government over the holding of municipal elections in Islamabad.

Chief Justice said that if the elections in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa do not take place on time, the provincial government will have to face constitutional consequences.

The KP government asked the Supreme Court to allow more time to KP to make necessary arrangements for the LG elections.

It is pertinent to mention here that Chief Minister Pervaiz Khattak had mentioned earlier that it would not be possible for Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) to hold local body polls in the province this year.
He had made these remarks after attending the party’s core committee meeting on October 3 in Islamabad. At the meeting, he had said that the recent wave of terror in K-P province forced the government to procrastinate on local body elections, making it difficult for the party to quickly move forward.

“It’s almost impossible to hold local body polls in 2013, we still have to do a lot work on it,” he had told media, adding that polls will be held in February next year.

“Back to back three terrorist attacks in Peshawar have created hurdles in our way to precede lawmaking process on local bodies’ government system,” he had further added.

LG elections in Punjab and Balochistan will take place on December 7 while in Sindh they will take place on November 27.

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