Local government polls in country delayed by another eight months

* SC orders federation and provinces to enact necessary legislation during next five months and hold elections by Nov 15

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court of Pakistan has directed the government to hold local government elections (LG) by November 15 and delegate powers for holding the LG elections and carrying out delimitation of constituencies to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP)
The apex court directed the federation and provinces to enact the necessary legislation within the next five months. A three-member bench of the court headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Tassaduq Hussain Jillani on Wednesday rendered this judgement on the applications filed by ECP, Punjab and Sindh governments with reference to the delimitation of constituencies and LG polls. Punjab Advocate General (AG) Mustafa Ramday appeared on behalf of the Punjab government. 
He requested the court to give four months for completion of the legal formalities for the conduct of LB elections. He said there are 10 phases for conducting LG polls, and 25 days are needed for preparation of local government act draft afresh, while 10 days are required for its approval. “At least 14 days are required to seek endorsement from the Law Ministry in respect of this draft law and approval from the cabinet,” he added.
Giving further break-up, Ramday said five days are needed for summoning of the provincial assembly, five days for sending the matter to the relevant standing committee and one month for obtaining approval from it. Another 15 days will be required for the approval of the governor and notification of this act in the gazette, while 20 days are needed for working out the rules and regulations in respect of delimitations, the Punjab AG told the court. 
Meanwhile, the ECP told the apex court that since it has carried out delimitation of constituencies for the National Assembly, delimitation of constituencies for LG polls will not be a difficult job. It is noteworthy that the Supreme Court had directed the Election Commission of Pakistan on Tuesday to file a reply within 15 days on the non-implementation of nine clauses of electoral reforms during the general election besides seeking reply from the government within one month for conducting local government elections in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Islamabad. 
Chief Justice Jillani had observed that conducting elections in an equitable and transparent manner is the responsibility of the ECP and it is binding on all the institutions of the country to extend cooperation to the commission in discharging this obligation. A three-member bench of the court headed on Tuesday heard the electoral reforms’ implementation case, which was filed by the Pakistan Workers Party.

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