ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan has decided to approach the Supreme Court again after the SC registrar rejected on Tuesday its application seeking postponement of local government elections in Punjab and Sindh.
The registrar contended that the ECP’s concise statement could not be entertained because the constitutional petition No 77/2010 had already been disposed of with an order on Nov 5.
A senior official of the ECP told Dawn that the commission would approach the apex court again. He said the commission would either challenge the registrar’s decision or file a review petition against the court’s Nov 5 order which had asked the commission to hold elections on the dates announced by the provinces. The official said the ECP would soon take a decision on one of the two options and approach the court after 10th of Muharram.
He said there were 24,000 candidates in the general elections whereas 22,000 people were contesting the LG polls in Balochistan alone. The intending candidates were facing numerous problems in obtaining and submitting nomination papers and the ECP was receiving a large number of complaints in this regard, he added.
The official recalled that the date for filing nomination papers had to be extended by two days in the general elections. He said the people contesting LG elections in Punjab and Sindh had earlier been given only two days to file papers, but the date was now extended to Wednesday (today). But he said the extension too was not sufficient.
Referring to other challenges, the official said the Printing Corporation of Pakistan (PCP) had expressed its inability to print the required number of ballot papers within the given deadline.
Similarly, he said, the Pakistan Council of Scientific and Industrial Research had expressed its inability to provide over 2.2 million magnetised inkpads.
The official said delimitation of union councils was still in progress in Sindh, adding that the provincial government was continuously making changes in local areas after hearing appeals.
He was of the opinion that many laws and rules would have to be violated if attempts are made to hold the polls on the dates announced by the provinces without consulting the ECP and completing the ground work.
He said that under the law the commission could undertake the exercise only after completion of prerequisites, including delimitation and removal of flaws in local government laws, but it had to announce the schedule to abide by the apex court’s orders.
The official said the Supreme Court should take into consideration the ground realities and give the ECP proper time to hold credible elections. Otherwise, he added, billions of rupees would be wasted on what could be termed “the most flawed LG polls ever held in the country”.