SC directs ECP to hold LG polls in Punjab, Sindh on September 20

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court Friday directed the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to hold local government elections in Punjab and Sindh simultaneously on September 20, while in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on May 23 and all cantonment board areas of the country on April 25.

The three-member bench of the SC headed by Justice Jawwad S.

Khawaja comprising Justice Sarmad Jalal Osmany and Justice Maqbool Baqar heard the two different petitions regarding holding of local government elections in the 43 cantonment areas of the country and also holding of LG polls in Punjab, Sindh and Punjab.

The Court rejecting LB election’s schedule for Punjab and Sindh, remarked that the amended schedule did not provide any information over the phases and the time required for elections.

The Court also rejected the Attorney General’s plea to hold LB elections in cantonment boards on May, 2.

The Election Commission and the Attorney General assured the Court that LB elections would be held in Punjab and Sindh on September, 20 simultaneously.

The Court directed the registration of three to five millions new voters within cantonment boards in the KPK province at the earliest.

During the course of proceedings, ECP Acting Secretary, Sher Afgan submitted a new schedule of three-phased election in Sindh and Punjab.

The bench raised objection over the recommendation of three-phased election.

Neither we have any personal interest in the local government polls nor the court is against the election commission, Justice Khawaja remarked.

He said it was responsibility of the ECP to conduct these elections which it did not fulfill.

Meanwhile, Secretary ECP Sher Afgan pleaded before the court that the commission would be ready to hold local government elections in Punjab and Sindh on September 20 this year if two new printing machines are provided to the printing corporation.

He also withdrew recommendation of holding elections in three-phases in Punjab and Sindh.

Justice Jawwad S. Khawaja asked Sher Afgan that why ECP consider itself as a servant of government instead of working as an independent institution.

“You are saying that political parties are stake-holders in the ECP is just not correct and the commission should hold LG polls whether or not the political parties agree”, the bench observe.

The bench remarked that if a political party has an objection then it should approach the courts against ECP decision.

The Court adjourned the hearing of the case after ordering that the written submission of LB elections schedule in Punjab and Sindh should be presented on March 10.