KARACHI: The Sindh High Court on Friday directed the provincial administration and police to ensure production of some detained union committee (UC) chairmen and other elected representative to enable them to cast their vote in the June 15 election of mayor and deputy mayor of Karachi.
Disposing of a petition filed by the Jamaat-i-Islami, a two-judge bench headed by Justice Yousuf Ali Sayeed directed the home secretary, inspector general of police and IG prisons to comply with its order.
The petitioner submitted that several elected UC chairmen had been detained and sought directives for respondents to hold free and fair polls of mayor/deputy mayor of Karachi and provide access to the City Council members to participate in the polling, scheduled for June 15.
At the outset of the hearing, an Election Commission of Pakistan’s law officer and advocate general of Sindh filed comments and statements.
SHC disposes of JI petition seeking free, fair polls
The bench noted that four UC chairmen, elected on PTI tickets, had been specifically identified in the petition as detainees.
It further said that the comments filed on behalf of the IGP reflected that elected UC chairmen belonging to PTI — Umar Daraz, Syed Amjad Hussain and Mohammad Mustafa — had been booked in May 9 riot cases and detained at Mirpurkhas, Jacobabad and Dadu prisons.
Advocate General Hasan Akbar contended that PTI leader Firdous Shamim Naqvi, who was elected chairman from UC-2 Jamshed Town, had also been detained in relation to an FIR regarding violent protests, but due to his illness he was presently admitted to the National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases (NICVD) Sukkur.
ECP law officer Abdullah Hanjrah also filed a statement along with various documents, including June 2 order of the ECP. He informed the bench that the ECP had received certain complaints on the subject issue and having taken cognizance, had passed the order.
The bench reproduced the order of the ECP in its judgement which said that the ECP was under constitutional obligation to ensure that the election was conducted honestly, fairly and in accordance with law and corrupt practices were guarded against.
“Now therefore, the government of Sindh is directed to ensure that voters for the elections of heads of local councils are brought on polling stations with all safety measures so that they could use their right of franchise in the aforesaid elections,” the ECP order added.
The AG submitted that he had objections to the maintainability of the petition, but he undertook that the provincial government would abide the order of the ECP in letter and spirit as regards to four persons/UC chairmen in question and all other voters who were in custody.
“In view of the order of ECP and the undertaking given on behalf of the government of Sindh by the learned advocate general in court today with reference to that order, the petition stands disposed of accordingly in such terms,” the bench in its order noted.
The bench directed its office to send the copy of its order to home secretary, IG Sindh police and IG prisons for information and compliance.
JI Karachi chief Hafiz Naeem-ur-Rehman petitioned the SHC and submitted that his party had nominated him its candidate to contest the election of the Karachi mayor while PTI extended him unconditional support.
However, he alleged that the PPP was using government machinery to capture the office of the city mayor as it had started pressurising the City Council members especially those elected on PTI tickets since police were raiding their houses, abducting them and lodging false cases against them.
Published in Dawn, June 10th, 2023