The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Thursday sought comments from the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), Pakistan Muslim League-Functional (PML-F) and others on the plea filed by the Sindh government requesting to suspend the operation of its order against the show of hands procedure for electing the representatives of local governments in the province.
The provincial government approached the SHC just a day after it directed the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to conduct the elections for the local government mayors and deputy mayors in the province through secret balloting.
The government submitted that they want to move the Supreme Court of Pakistan against the verdict but they require 15 days for this purpose. The court was directed to suspend its order for 15 days.
SHC, bench headed by Justice Syed Hasan Azhar Rizvi, issued notices to the petitioners directing them to file their comments in the next hearing. Earlier, on Wednesday after hearing the identical petitions of MQM and PML-F, the SHC directed the ECP to conduct the elections mayors, deputy mayors, chairmen and vice chairmen in Sindh through secret balloting.
MQM and PML-F had requested the court to annul the fourth amendment in Sindh Local Government Bill 2013, which bind the members to cast their votes by showing their hands instead of secret voting for electing mayors and deputy mayors.
The amendment is the violation of Article 266 of Pakistan’s constitution which allows secret polling. Constitution states that all election, except those of prime minister and chief minister shall be held through secret balloting; therefore any procedure held for electing Local Government (LG) representatives by showing hands will be against the constitution, they added.
Pakistan People’s party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and Jamaat-e-Islami who had joined the proceeding later by filing intervener petitions, submitted there is a rigging suspicion, if the elections for mayor and other local government representatives held through secret balloting. The rigging chances will be terminated through show of hands, they submitted.