ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Monday said it would publish the final list of constituencies/wards in May for holding the local government (LG) elections in the federal capital.

On March 25, the ECP had issued the schedule for carrying out delimitation of the 50 union councils – 27 in rural and 23 in urban areas – in Islamabad.

According to the ECP, after completing various procedures, the final list will be published on May 19.

The ruling PTI wanted to hold the local government elections in Islamabad under a new law which has yet to be approved by the parliament.

IHC had recently directed holding of elections on basis of law introduced by previous govt

Under the proposed law, which was issued as a presidential ordinance, Islamabad will have 100 union councils and a directly-elected mayor.

However, the government could not get approval of the ordinance from the parliament to make it an Act.

On the other hand, the term of the local government expired in February last year and since then elections have been due with no serious effort being made by the government to get the proposed Act passed from the parliament.

The law was tabled in the National Assembly and is currently being discussed in the standing committee concerned.

However, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) recently directed the government to hold the elections on the basis of the law introduced by the previous government which was an Act of parliament.

IHC Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani accepted identical petitions filed by Mazdoor Union of Capital Development Authority (CDA), CDA Officers Association and former union council chairman Sardar Mehtab against the promulgation of the Islamabad Capital Territory Local Government Ordinance.

Through a short order, Justice Kayani announced that the petitions had been allowed.

Under the ordinance, the local government elections in the federal capital have been proposed to be held in May this year. According to the petitioners, the ordinance was promulgated in violation of the spirit of Article 89 of the Constitution.

It may be mentioned here that the Supreme Court in a recent judgement ruled against the promulgation of excessive ordinances.

The apex court observed that “the president and provincial governors may promulgate ordinances but their power to promulgate ordinances is circumscribed by the Constitution. The president may only promulgate an ordinance in respect of any matter in the Federal Legislative List when neither the Senate nor the National Assembly is in session and can only do so when circumstances exist which render it necessary to take immediate action.”

During an earlier hearing of the case in February, Justice Kayani had asked how the ordinance was promulgated while the parliament was in session.

The counsel for the federal government replied that the parliament session was prorogued on Nov 19 while the ordinance was promulgated on Nov 23.

He said since the ECP had set the deadline of Nov 25 for making a law on the local government, the law was promulgated through a presidential ordinance.

Published in Dawn, March 29th, 2022

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