ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan, Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jilani, while conducting hearing of the case pertaining to non-conducting the local bodies elections in cantonment boards, has said that it is violation of the constitution that local bodies elections were not conducted in cantonment boards for eight years, saying that no further delay would not be tolerated in this regard. Supreme Court summoned reply from the attorney general, defence ministry and the election commission on February 20 regarding delay in conducting the local bodies’ polls in cantonment boards. Meanwhile court has suggested that the polls should be conducted on old legislation and these could be conducted again after conducting fresh legislation.
Two-member bench of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan, Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jilani and comprising Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed on Thursday conducted hearing of the case pertaining to non-conducting the local bodies’ elections in cantonment boards, Punjab and Sindh provinces.
The court said that to conduct local bodies’ polls in cantonment boards is the constitutional demand and the federal government is bound to hold these elections.
The court said that attorney general should reply as to what would be the consequences of the delay in discharging the constitutional obligation.
The court inquired from the attorney general to inform the court as to whether the local bodies polls can be conducted under the prevailing law or not. The court said that as to how the proceeding should be taken ahead against the defence secretary.
Chief Justice said that constitution is being violated, saying that consequences would have to be borne. The Court directed federal government to hold local bodies’ elections in cantonment boards at the earliest.
During hearing of the case, Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed inquired from the additional advocate general, Shah Khawar as to when the local bodies’ polls would be held in cantonment boards.
Upon this, Shah Khawar informed the court that position is the same, saying that contacts were repeatedly made with the Prime Minister secretariat and authorities of defence ministry, but meeting could not be held with them.
Chief Justice expressed annoyance, saying that the court cannot conduct such hearing of the case. He said that attorney general should be summoned.
The court also ordered the secretary election commission to appear in the court and present his standpoint after the court’s interval.
Shah Khawar informed the court that he informed the chief executive secretariat with regard to local bodies’ election in cantonment boards, saying that they were to hold the meeting but the meeting could not be held due to engagements of the defence minister and the said meeting is going to be held today.
Upon this, Chief Justice said to the Shah Khawar that the court cannot trust on his word. Chief Justice directed the additional advocate general, Shah Khawar to summon the attorney general, saying that the court wants to dispose off the matter today.
Secretary election commission and attorney general, Salman Butt appeared in the court after the court’s interval. Chief Justice inquired as to whether the local bodies’ polls can be conducted under the prevailing laws or not.
Chief Justice summoned reply on February 20 as to whether the local bodies’ polls can be conducted under the prevailing laws or not.
The court issued directive to the attorney general to become assistant to the government for conducting local bodies’ elections in cantonment boards. The court directed the attorney general to inform the court on February 20 after asking from the government.
The counsel of the Election Commission, Akram Sheikh informed the court that it is not possible to conduct the local bodies’ polls until the delimitations are done. He requested the court to give time in this regard. Secretary Election Commission Ishtiaq Ahmed Khan the holding of LB polls in Sindh and Punjab was not possible in Sindh and Punjab due to declaring delimitations as null and void by the Sindh and Lahore High Courts.
The court also fixed the date of February 20 to conduct hearing of the contempt of court case against the defence secretary, Asif Yaseen Malik .The court adjourned hearing of the case till February 20.