- MQM-P maintains existing LG laws are against spirit of Article 140(A) which empowers local governments.
- Says certain amendments to the LG laws were crucial before holding the LG polls.
- SHC informed that all parties agreed to postpone LG elections till the enactment of LG laws in line with Article 140(A).
KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Monday issued notices to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), seeking arguments over the postponement of Sindh local government elections — while hearing a plea pertaining to delimitation of constituencies and non-compliance of the Supreme Court (SC) directives, The News reported.
A division bench, comprising Justice Mohammad Junaid Ghaffar and Justice Amjad Ali Sahito, was hearing the plea filed by MQM-P.
At the outset of the hearing, the SHC was informed that the Sindh government had already submitted its reply to the court, stating that all parties had agreed to postpone the Local Government (LG) elections till the enactment of the LG laws in line with Article 140-A of the Constitution of Pakistan.
The counsel representing MQM-P Farogh Naseem maintained that certain amendments to the LG laws were crucial before holding the LG polls.
He submitted that the present LG law was against the spirit of Article 140-A of the Constitution, which empowered the local governments, and the SC had already issued orders to the Sindh government for necessary legislation in that regard.
The court, observing that the ECP had not submitted its arguments in the petition, sought the Commission’s arguments on June 23.
MQM-P leader Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui and others maintained that the provincial election commission had failed to adhere to the principles laid down by the SC for conducting delimitation of constituencies for holding LG polls in Karachi. They stated that there were certain requirements as per the Sindh LG law for the declaration of towns, but those conditions had not been fulfilled. Also, the population criteria for the formation of union councils and town councils had been violated despite objections raised by the petitioners, they said.
The select committee, constituted for the purpose of amending the Local Government Act, had decided that LG elections could be held only after making necessary reforms in the law. The committee, which held its meeting under the chairmanship of LG Minister Syed Nasir Hussain Shah, along with lawmakers of the MQM-P and the PTI, suggested that holding the LG polls would serve no purpose without carrying out necessary reforms in the law.
They were of the view that it would be in the fitness of things and for all political purposes that the LG elections are held after making necessary reforms in the relevant law. MQM-P Convener Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui and others had filed a petition in the SHC, seeking implementation of the SC order with regard to the LG law. They said in the petition that the SC had directed the provincial government to establish a local administration that possessed meaningful authority and responsibility in the political arena, and in administrative and financial matters.
They also said that the SC had observed that it was the duty of a province, through the provincial government and the provincial assembly, to purposefully empower local governments so as to comply with their mandatory obligation under Article 140-A of the Constitution.