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PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court on Tuesday sought comments from the Election Commission of Pakistan within three days about a dozen petitions against the delimitation of constituencies in Mardan and Swabi districts.

A bench consisting of Justice Roohul Amin Khan Chamkani and Justice Nasir Mehfooz observed that they would hear those petitions soon after the Eidul Fitr holidays due to the urgency of the matter.

It issued the order after holding preliminary hearing into the petitions filed by several candidates, who sought the court’s orders for restoring the previous status of the provincial assembly constituencies in Mardan district.

Babar Khan Yousafzai, lawyer for the petitioners from Mardan district, said the ECP had erred in the delimitation of Mardan’s eight provincial assembly constituencies from PK-48 to PK-55.

He said under Section 20 of the Elections Act, 2017, all constituencies for general seats should be delimited having regard to the distribution of population in geographically compact areas, physical features, existing boundaries of administrative units, facilities of communication and public convenience to ensure homogeneity in the creation of constituencies.

Mr Yousafzai said the ECP had ignored several important factors while delimiting the constituencies, especially the geographic factors, as the natural boundaries were not followed.

He said the famous Kalpani nullah was a natural divide among different constituencies and it was followed in all previous elections, but the ECP had ignored it this time around.

The lawyer said members of most political parties had unanimously pushed the ECP for restoring the previous limits of constituencies but the latter rejected all those requests.

He said the ECP’s that act went against Section 20 of the Elections Act, 2017.

Ashfaq Khan, lawyer for the petitioners pertaining to Swabi district, said the ECP didn’t follow the prescribed rules while delimiting constituencies and also ignored the geographic limits of constituencies.

REPLIES SOUGHT: A high court bench consisting of Justice Qaiser Rasheed and Justice Ikramullah Khan has sought replies from the chairmen of Pakistan bar Council and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Bar Council about a petition challenging the condition of at least 15 years experience for lawyers to contest elections of their associations, including PHC bar and district and tehsil associations.

It issued the order after preliminary hearing into a petition filed by lawyers from Bannu district, including Wali Khan, Ayaz Khan and others.

Published in Dawn, June 13th, 2018