ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Muslim League–Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) on Tuesday approached the Islamabad High Court (IHC) and challenged notification of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) regarding Islamabad LG elections.

Dr Tariq Fazal Chaudhry, president PML-N Islamabad chapter, and Raja Muhammad Shakeel Abbasi, president PPP Islamabad division, filed the petition through Adil Aziz Qazi Advocate and cited federation of Pakistan through Secretary Ministry of Interior, federation of Pakistan through Secretary to the Prime Minister and Election Commission of Pakistan through Chief Election Commissioner as respondents.

They adopted the stance that the ICT Local Government Act 2015 empowers the federal government to declare any area as Union Council and to divide an existing area of one union council into two and to notify the number of union councils in Islamabad.

The petitioners said that it was in this lieu that the federal government was recently pleased to increase the number of union councils of Islamabad to 101 UCs while citing that each union council shall be representative of 20,000 people of Islamabad vide its notification dated 13.06.2022.

They said that apart from the fact that the number of UCs have been increased from 50 to 101, the ECP recently issued a notification dated 22.04.2022 whereby it has started periodical revision of electoral rolls, and the said revision of the electoral rolls is already under process and the final electoral rolls as per the said notification will be published by 12.08.2022.

They contended that in presence of these notifications whereby the electoral rolls have not been finalised and the federal government while exercising its powers has increased the number of union councils in Islamabad, the Election Commission is not undertaking any delimitation process for the purpose of increasing the number of UCs in Islamabad, but instead has issued a notification dated 2nd June 2022 announcing the schedule for conduct of local government elections in Islamabad capital territory.

The Petitioners also contended that the notification has been issued in violation of the notification of the federal government to increase the number of union councils in Islamabad, the ECP was ought to comply with the said notification and conduct delimitation process before announcing the election schedule through the impugned notification.

They argued that there is no cavil to the proposition that elections are a mandatory part of the democratic process and the LG elections must be held accordingly but to hold the elections without complying with the increase in number of union councils and before finalising the electoral rolls would be violation of the statutory provisions of the law.

Therefore, they prayed that the impugned notification dated 02.06.2022 issued by the ECP be set-aside being violative of the provisions of the ICT Local Government Act 2015 and the ECP be restrained from conducting the election process without increasing the numbers of union councils & conducting delimitation process in accordance with the notification dated 13.06.2022 and also not before finalising the electoral rolls, may kindly be passed in favour of the petitioners and against the respondents.

They further prayed that the respondents be directed to implement the notification dated 13.06.2022 and also carry out delimitation process accordingly in its letter and spirit in order to strengthen democracy and ensure representation of the people and take all further steps which empowers the local government as intended by 140-A of the Constitution of Pakistan.