The Islamabad High Court (IHC) directed the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Wednesday to carry out delimitation in Islamabad anew and issue a revised schedule for local government elections in the capital within 65 days.

IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah issued the directives after taking up pleas filed by the PTI, PML-N and PPP, which sought a delay in the local government elections for a fresh delimitation after the number of union councils in the capital was increased from 50 to 101.

The ECP had issued a schedule on June 2 for holding the elections in 50 union councils of the capital on July 31.

However, the Ministry of Interior had also issued a notification, increasing the numbers of the union councils from 50 to 101.

Subsequently, the PPP, PML-N and PTI approached the IHC, seeking a revised election schedule after the increase in the number of union councils.

When Justice Minallah took up the pleas today, he asked what the ECP had decided on the matter.

ECP officials told the court that the electoral watchdog had issued a clarification regarding local government elections through a notification.

The judge then asked in how many days the ECP could hold the elections.

The officials replied that the polls could be held within 60 to 65 days, as was mentioned in the ECP's reply submitted to the court.

The reply stated that the ECP would carry our fresh delimitation and issue a revised schedule for the polls within 60 days.

"We will first carry out fresh delimitations and then issue a schedule for local government elections," it said, requesting the court to direct the federal government to cooperate with the ECP to hold the elections.

The ECP maintained that "governments create obstacles in the war of local government elections" and requested the court to direct the federal government to "fulfil its constitutional responsibility" with regard to the local bodies' elections.

Following the submission of the reply, Justice Minallah observed that the pleas for delaying local government elections had been "rendered ineffective".

He adjourned the proceedings after directing the ECP to carry out fresh delimitation in the capital and issue a new schedule for local government elections there.

Justice Minallah further noted that some complaints had been received regarding the matter and asked the ECP to look into them. He also instructed that no votes were to be transferred from one ward to the other.

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