ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court on Tuesday warned that if the provincial governments and the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) did not hold local government elections, it would pass an order for the implementation of its directives.
“When the provincial and ICT authorities can’t implement the Constitution, no justification is left for them to remain in power,” Justice Jawwad said. The chief justice remarked that Article 5 was very clear. Article 5 (2) of the Constitution says, “Obedience to the Constitution and law is the inviolable obligation of every citizen wherever he may be and of every other person for the time being within Pakistan.”
A three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, hearing local bodies’ elections case, directed the provincial governments and the ICT to submit reply for not holding LB polls so far despite clear orders of the apex court.
The court posed a question as to whether the elected provincial governments and the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) were not bound by the constitutional provisions, particularly articles 5, 32, 38 (a & b) and 140-A.
It said the prime minister, chief ministers, ministers, MNAs, senators and MPAs had taken oath under the Constitution, so they are bound to follow the Constitution’s provisions. “It is the obligation of the court to protect, preserve and defend the Constitution,” it said.
The bench sought reply from the authorities of the provinces and the ICT regarding holding the local government elections, before the apex court passed a final order. The court issued notice to the Election Commission of Pakistan to explain its responsibility regarding holding of the LG polls under 140-A (2) of the Constitution.
An additional attorney general, who appeared on behalf of the ICT, and the advocate generals of all the provinces, categorically admitted before the bench that non-implementation of Article 32 and 140-A was violation of the Constitution.
When the hearing resumed in the morning, the chief justice remarked that the provincial governments would not get a date of their choice to hold local bodies’ elections. Justice Jawwad questioned why the Punjab gave the date of 14th December. He said: “The provincial governments and the ICT authorities should stop thinking that they would hold LG polls in their provinces according to dates of their choices as the Constitution would prevail.”
It is worth mentioning that yesterday (Monday) Punjab Additional Advocate General Mustafa Ramday had informed the bench that local bodies’ elections in the province would be held on 14th December, 2013.
During the proceedings, Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, addressing Punjab AAG Muhammad Hanif Khatana, said even the military dictators, Zia-ul-Haq and Pervez Musharraf, also held local bodies’ elections, adding if the government was not interested in holding the polls, the court would pass an order.
The bench expressed dismay over the KPK government for not giving a clear date about holding the local government elections. Justice Jawwad S Khawaja also observed there was an impression that the KPK government would be the first to hold the local bodies’ elections in its province, but now there was no sign of such polls in KPK. The court appreciated the Sindh government’s efforts to hold the LB polls earliest. The hearing was adjourned till 26th September.