SHC issues final warning to ECP over local bodies elections schedule

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KARACHI: The Sindh High Court on Wednesday issued a final warning to the provincial election commission to submit a schedule for the local bodies election.

During the hearing today, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) told the court that it will conduct the local bodies elections in the province within 120 days of the completion of the outgoing local bodies’ tenure.

The division bench headed by Justice Mohammad Ali Mazhar asked the ECP’s counsel when the local bodies elections will be held.

Mohammad Javed Khan, the provincial election commissioner and ECP law officer Abdullah Hanjra said the current local bodies term would expire on August 30 and within 120 days, the election commission would conduct the local government elections.

The bench said that despite several orders by the court, the ECP had failed to file its reply. The High Court then directed the ECP to file its comments by September 8.

Petitioner Syed Mehmood Akhtar Naqvi had submitted that Article 140-A of the Constitution made it incumbent to hold the local bodies elections in the provinces. He had said that the local bodies in Sindh had completed their four-year tenure, but despite the completion of the tenure, the provincial government and the ECP were not taking steps to hold their elections.

He had further stated in his appeal that notifications to announce the elected representatives of the current local bodies were issued by the ECP on December 3, 2015, December 26, 2015, and January 1, 2016, and according to them, the local bodies have completed their tenure and the elected representatives were now illegally holding their offices.

Naqvi alleged that the government was using delaying tactics for holding the local bodies elections to usurp Rs78 billion funds of Karachi and was not writing a letter to the ECP in this regard.