ISLAMABAD: Rejecting the schedule of local government elections in Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and cantonment areas submitted by Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), the Supreme Court has ordered to hold the polls across the country by September this year and submit a new schedule in a day.
A three-member bench of apex court headed by Justice Jawad S Khawaja resumed the hearing of case on Wednesday.
The Attorney General of Pakistan (AGP) presented Salman Aslam Butt presented schedule of LG elections drafted by ECP, which proposed that the polls will be held in in cantonment boards on May 16, and in K-P in June, in Punjab on February 20, 2016 and in Sindh on March 20, 2016.
The court expressed dissatisfaction over the schedule of Punjab and Sindh and asserted that LB polls should be held in both provinces no later than September this year.
AGP told court that the registration of around four millions new voters in Punjab and Sindh is yet to be done for which around 45 days are required while four months are needed for the delimitation of constituencies.
The bench remarked that what ECP was doing from last five years, suggesting the preparations for new LB elections should’ve got underway the day the term of previous local governments had expired.
The court observed that ECP’s inability to make arrangements for new LB polls mean it has not complied with its constitutional duty.
Earlier the day, when the hearing begun court directed AGP and ECP Acting Secretary Sher Afgan to submit the schedule of LG polls before 8pm.
AGP told court that an ordinance for amendments in Cantonment Act will be issued within 48 hours. The bench remarked that the how this would be done in just 48 hours when couldn’t be done in seventeen years.
When the bench reassembled at 8:00pm, ECP secretary said that the voter lists are being updated and this process will take at least 35 days while delimitation of constituencies will also take some months.
Justice Khawaja remarked that during the 23 hearings of case, the government has given just assurances to the court but has not taken any practical steps.
The bench said that the supremacy of constitution and law will be ensured at all costs and the government shouldn’t have any misconception that the court will give more time in this case.
The court ordered the poll supervisory body to submit new schedule by 8:00 pm on Thursday and adjourned the hearing of case.