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Election Commission of Pakistan assures IHC of conducting LG elections in federal capital within 120 days

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) assured on Thursday, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) of holding local government elections in the federal capital within 120 days, after which the court disposed of the intra-court appeals in the case.

The ECP and the federal government filed separate intra-court appeals against the ruling of IHC’s single bench to conduct LG-polls in Islamabad on December 31, 2022. The IHC bench ordered the ECP to conduct local government elections on the said date while nullifying the electoral body’s decision to defer the polls.

On Thursday, a two-member bench headed by IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq conducted the hearing of the intra-court appeals. “The legislation has been done. Are the 125 UCs still there, ” Justice Farooq asked.

The judge said that the government has kept the authority of further increasing the number of UCs to itself. “In my opinion, there won’t be a need of increasing the UCs for 10 years, ” he said, adding that the LG elections should be conducted at once.

At this, the ECP officials assured the court of holding the LG-polls in Islamabad within 120 days. The court then asked the interior secretary if he would give a statement that the government will not increase the number of UCs before the elections.

“If you don’t give this statement, we’ll order that the UCs cannot be increased, ” the court remarked. At this, the ECP officials said that the electoral body will give the schedule of LG polls after conducting new delimitation.

“A Supreme Court judgment has also given a verdict regarding the polls, ” ECP’s director general law said in reference to the apex court’s ruling in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa election suo moto case.

At this, Justice Farooq said that it was a matter of the provincial assembly elections. On this, the ECP officials said that the commission was bound to consult with the federal government for LG polls as well.

After the completion of arguments and assurance by ECP, the IHC disposed of the intra-court appeals of the ECP and the government.