ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Monday questioned that how the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) is bound by the delimitations carried out by the provincial government.

A three-member bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Umar Ata Bandial conducted hearing of the MQM-P petition against the delimitation of constituencies for Local Government Elections in Sindh.

Barrister Farogh Naseem, representing Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P), prayed the bench to declare Section 10 of Sindh Local Government Act null and void. He said that the Sindh provincial government under Section 10 of the Act issued notification of delimitations of 233 Union Councils. He said that in the notification the provincial government has not explained on what basis delimitation of Union Councils was done.

Justice Mansoor Ali Shah questioned that how the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) is bound by the delimitations carried out by the provincial government. He said that under Election Act, 2017 the ECP has power to carry out delimitations.

Director General (Law) ECP said that under the law the provincial government has authority to carry out delimitations of constituencies. He stated that ECP is bound to hold LG elections in the union councils whose delimitations done by the provincial government.

Justice Mansoor inquired that the ECP could do different delimitations in different provinces. He advised the ECP not to merge its constitutional power with the Local Government laws.

Justice Mansoor observed that in some areas of Sindh the LG elections were held. Farogh said the ECP had planned to hold LG polls in Sindh in two phases and the elections in first phase have been completed, while in the next phase the LG polls will be held in Karachi, Hyderabad, Badin and Thatta.

He said that the MQM-P objected to the delimitation of constituencies. He argued that the provincial government in the areas where MQM-P is in majority has made union councils comprising 90,000 people, but the areas where Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) is in majority the union council consist of 30,000 persons. He maintained that with this arrangement the MQM-P will have less votes for Mayor seat.

Justice Mansoor confronted him by saying that according to Form 10, the ECP carried out the delimitations. He inquired how the MQM is affected with the delimitation.

The Chief Justice remarked that the ECP heard objections against the delimitations. He asked that why did the MQM-P not approach the court after first phase of LG polls in Sindh. He added that the ECP has already reserved its decision on the instant matter.

Farogh Naseem said that they have challenged the delimitation authority. He informed the delimitation committee comprises of three members, and out of that two members are from the provincial government.

Justice Mansoor said that in the law there is no bar that provincial officer cannot be included in the committee as a member. The Chief Justice noted that in one street, one party is popular, while in other some other party is famous. He said that in street and mohallah the delimitation could not be carried out without local officers. He further said that the ECP does not have enough staff therefore included local officers in the committee.

Farogh Naseem argued that in Orangi Town MQM is in majority, but there, the union council consists of 94,000 persons, while in Mominabad the union council comprises of 44,000 persons.

Later, the bench adjourned the hearing of the case till Tuesday (today).