Election Commission postpones Islamabad local bodies elections

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ECP lawmakers

Islamabad: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) Tuesday postponed the local bodies elections in Islamabad earlier scheduled for December 31 following a change in the union councils of the federal capital.

Headed by Chief Election Commissioner Sikander Sultan Raja, a five-member bench had heard the case and reserved the verdict earlier in the day.

During today’s proceedings, former Attorney General for Pakistan Ashtar Ausaf, who was representing the federal government in the case, told the bench that the number of union councils was increased in the federal capital based on the increase in population.

CEC Sikander Raja asked whether the census report had been published.

The former Attorney Gener told the bench that the census bureau had informed about the increase in Islamabad’s population, adding that the ECP must look at the increase in population.

“The Islamabad High Court (IHC) also recognised the increase in population but authorized the Election Commission to take the final decision after listening to the government’s point of view,” Ausaf told the bench.

He apprised the bench that even after the schedule was released, elections used to be postponed in the past.

Babar Awan’s arguments

PTI’s lawyer Babar Awan told the bench that the ECP has already issued the schedule and elections are supposed to be held on December 31, reminding that the law has been changed twice.

Awan said that the ECP was being misled by the government.

“The president has not yet approved the bill,” said Awan, adding that the president may send back the bill to the Parliament within 10 days with objections while backing the ECP’s views on the local body elections.

The PTI counsel also said that if the president signs the bill then the law can be challenged in a court of law, adding that under Article 264 even if a new law is made then elections are to be held under the previous law.

The PTI counsel, while wrapping up his arguments, urged the bench to let the polls happen on December 31.