KARACHI: The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and Pakistan People's Party (PPP) on Monday filed separate petitions in the Sindh High Court (SHC) challenging the Election Commission of Pakistan's recent decision for delimitation of a number of constituencies in Karachi.
A division bench of SHC, headed by Justice Maqbool Baqar, has put Secretary Federal Statistics Division, Chief Statistician, Provincial Census Commissioner and Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on notice.
The petition filed by MQM leaders Advocate Farogh Naseem and Farooq Sattar stated that the ECP's decision for a Karachi-centric delimitation was unconstitutional. It added that the constitution did not allow delimitation without the holding of a fresh census.
The petition further said that without following legal process, the ECP issued notification on March 22 for redrawing three constituencies of the National Assembly and eight constituencies of the provincial assembly in Karachi.
The petitioners contended that after announcing the schedule for general elections, notification for delimitation could not be issued.
Naseem submitted that the apex court had passed orders in November last year for carrying out exercise of delimitation, adding complying with court orders, the ECP should have accomplished the task after conducting fresh census at that time. He said that now electoral boundaries in the city should be delimited after the upcoming general elections.
Meanwhile, the PPP became the second party in the case as they said they have reservations over issuing the delimitation notice without taking them in confidence.
Moreover a demonstration was held outside the Election Commission's office in Karachi against the delimitation of Karachi's constituencies during which Waseem Aftab, a former lawmaker belonging to the MQM addressed the protestors and said the delimitation after the announcement of election schedule was in violation of the constitution.
He further said that if the notification for the delimitation was not withdrawn then the state institutions would be held responsible fopr the arising situation in the city.
The petitions from two major stakeholders comes in the wake of the ECP's move for the delimitation of three constituencies of National Assembly and eight constituencies of Sindh Assembly in Karachi. The city has 20 National Assembly and 42 provincial assembly seats.
After hearing preliminary arguments, the bench comprising Justice Maqbool Baqar and Justice Farooq Shah issued notice to the respondents and attorney general of Pakistan and adjourned the hearing to March 27.