KARACHI, May 7: Dismissing the plea of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement against redrawing of 13 national and provincial assembly constituencies in Karachi, the Sindh High Court on Tuesday observed that any interference at this stage would cause interruption and delay to the upcoming general elections.
The Election Commission of Pakistan had issued a notification on March 22, announcing delimitation of three NA constituencies (NA 239, 250 and 254) and eight Sindh Assembly constituencies (PS 89, 112, 113, 114, 115, 116, 118 and 124) in Karachi.
Petitioner Barrister Farogh Naseem of the MQM challenged the delimitation of the constituencies mainly on two counts.
First, he contended that the impugned notification was in violation of the elementary principle of the electoral laws that clearly stated that no delimitation could be effected once the electoral process had started.
Secondly, he argued that the impugned notification was bad in law as it was effected without issuing a public notice.
A division bench headed by Justice Maqbool Baqar noted in its order that the documents placed on record showed that the ECP had in fact invited suggestions from political parties in relation to the delimitation of constituencies and several meetings of the commission were held in Karachi and Islamabad in this connection.
The order said: “Furthermore, reports of the above proceedings have been repeatedly published in the print media and broadcasted through the electronic media at the relevant time and, therefore, it cannot be said that the petitioner was prevented from raising objections and/or submitting their proposals to the commission with regard to the delimitation in question.”
The bench also observed that in any event the commission was fully empowered to make amendments, alterations or modification in the final list of the constituencies.
“We are of the considered view that any interference in the election process at this stage will cause interruption in the process and delay the same. It is now well laid down that the high courts can only interfere in the election matters if the interference is to sub-serve the election, election process and not to interrupt or interfere with the election or the election process. The petitioners, if permissible under the law, and if so advised, may either approach the Supreme Court and/or file an appeal before the Tribunal, constituted under Section 57 of the Representation of People Act, 1976. The petitions along with the pending application stand disposed of in the foregoing terms.
Afaq plea disposed of
A division bench headed by Chief Justice Mushir Alam directed police and the Rangers to extend all necessary assistance to Afaq Ahmed, chief of the Mohajir Qaumi Movement-Haqiqi, during his election campaign.
The bench with this direction disposed of a contempt of court application of Mr Ahmed, a candidate for NA-251 and NA-255, against law enforcers for barring him from conducting his election campaign despite court’s orders.
Landhi DSP Muhammad Ahmed submitted that there was no restriction on the movement of the petitioner and they would facilitate his election campaign.
The court said that it was expected that police functionaries would extend all necessary help to make election campaign of the petitioner convenient.