SC orders provinces to hold LB polls after Muharram

SC orders provinces to hold LB polls after Muharram

Supreme-Court-with-flagISLAMABAD, (SANA): The Supreme Court of Pakistan has warned that the old local government system will be restored if provincial governments fail to hold local bodies elections immediately after Muharram-ul-Haram.

Chief Justice ordered provinces to hold LB polls after the month of Muharram, or else be ready to face the music. He said court will not allow violation of constitution in the country. He said LB polls would have to be ensured at all costs.

Three-member bench of apex court headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry heard the case pertaining to local bodies elections in provinces on Thursday.

The court directed Additional Attorney General Shah Khawar and Advocate Generals to think about the other parallel options, adding that court would not let any government to violate the constitution.

We should be proud that we have a constitution and according to the constitution local bodies elections are mandatory, CJ said adding that old system of local government can be restored until the LB polls are held.

Chief Justice remarked that if there were problems of legislations, then government can take help of ordinance but it will have to give final date of LB polls.

Additional Attorney General and provincial advocate generals submitted their reports but the court termed them unsatisfactory.

Shah Khawar contended that the federal government cannot give the final date even in cantonment boards.

During the hearing of a case pertaining to the local bodies’ elections, the Punjab advocate general said the provincial government was set to hold elections on December 7. The chief justice remarked that every province was giving its own date, adding that the scheduled date was too far.

Meanwhile, Justice Jawwad S Khawaja sought names of those elements, who were delaying the elections. Give us the names and let the further matter on the court, he added.

The bench directed the provincial governments and the ICT to submit reasons for not holding LB polls so far despite clear orders of the apex court.

The court posed a question as to whether the elected provincial governments and the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) were not bound by the constitutional provisions, particularly articles 5, 32, 38 (a & b) and 140-A.

It said the prime minister, chief ministers, ministers, MNAs, senators and MPAs had taken oath under the Constitution, so they are bound to follow the Constitution’s provisions. “It is the obligation of the court to protect, preserve and defend the Constitution,” it said.

The bench sought reply from the authorities of the provinces and the ICT regarding holding the local government elections, before the apex court passed a final order.

The court issued notice to the Election Commission of Pakistan to explain its responsibility regarding holding of the LG polls under 140-A (2) of the Constitution.

During the proceedings, the CJP remarked that everyone was giving different date for local bodies elections. He ordered the provinces to hold the polls after the month of Muharram else be ready to face the music.

Advocate Generals Punjab and Balochistan said their governments were ready to hold local government elections on December 07.
AG Balochistan said that the earthquake hit the province and the system of the province have been damaged, so early polls are impossible.

The court directed the counsel for Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to submit the reply regarding the arrangements of LB polls.

He replied that ECP is awaiting the preparation of provinces after the approval of provinces ECP would hold elections as soon as possible. I could not contact with secretary ECP so court may give some time to file reply.
The court on request of ECP has adjourned the hearing of the case till October 03.

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