ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) will take up a petition on Monday seeking legislative assembly for the federal capital, on the pattern of a provincial assembly.

The petition, filed by Barrister Yawar Abbas Gardezi, contended that under the existing law, promulgated through presidential ordinance in 1980, Islamabad is governed by chief commissioner.

The law is inconsistent with the basic structure and the mandate of the Constitution and is in breach of the fundamental rights of the residents of Islamabad.

The petitioner stated that administrative control of Islamabad is vested in the chief commissioner’s office. His office enjoys the powers of a provincial government. His appointment, as per the petition, is not only unconstitutional as it lacks the consent of the capital’s citizens but also a portrayal of the British Raj. A legislative assembly in Islamabad would enable the citizens to hold accountable their policy makers and administrators.

The petition asserted that laws with regard to the capital are made by the National Assembly, in which Islamabad has less than 1pc representation. Any law made for Islamabad is subject to the vote of lawmakers from all over Pakistan.

During the hearing of appeals filed by the federal government and the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) Chief Justice or Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Jan 9 observed that civic problems in Islamabad could not be resolved unless there is a local assembly in the federal capital. It refers to the examples of the legislative assemblies of Indian and Australian Capital Territories.

The petitioner requested the court to direct the government to amend the law for the creation of a legislative assembly for Islamabad.

Published in Dawn, January 15th, 2023

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