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Thursday May 30, 2024

Islamabad mayor, deputy to be elected through indirect polls

By Muhammad Anis
February 09, 2023

ISLAMABAD: The joint sitting of parliament on Wednesday passed the Islamabad Capital Territory Local Government (Amendment) Act 2022 with an amendment while reverting to indirect elections of mayor and deputy mayor of the Municipal Corporation (MCI) of Islamabad.

Previously, the Islamabad Capital Territory Local Government (Amendment) Bill, 2022 as passed by National Assembly and Senate provided for direct elections of the mayor and deputy mayors of Islamabad.

Adopting an amendment moved by Senator Rana Maqbool Ahmad Khan of PML-N, the joint session omitted Clause 3 of the previously passed bill reverting to their indirect elections. The Clause 3 says that the mayor and deputy mayor shall be directly elected as joint candidates by voters. Their election shall be held on the day the election of members of the union council is held.

Agreeing to the amendment, Law Minister Azam Nazir Tarar said that there was an understanding in the government that direct elections of the mayor and deputy mayors would incur heavy expenses and the exercise would also involve the use of money. “Therefore, indirect elections of mayor and deputy mayors practised in other parts of the country is appropriate,” he said. The joint session, however, allowed an increase in the number of Union Councils from 101 to 125, keeping in view the increase in Islamabad’s population.

The local government elections, which were to be held on December 31, 2022, were postponed for want of an increase in the number of UCs and holding direct elections of Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Islamabad. The ICT Local Government (Amendment) Bill, 2022 was passed by the National Assembly and Senate but was returned by President Arif Alvi. It was reconsidered and passed under Clause (2) of Article 75 of the Constitution.

The joint sitting of the parliament, however, deferred the Protection of Parents Bill, 2022 passed by the National Assembly and not okayed by the Senate within 90 days.

The House also adopted a motion to discuss important national issues including economic policy, Jammu and Kashmir issue, respect for national institutions, China Pakistan Economic Corridor, population explosion, climate change impacts and foreign policy.

On the recommendation of Senator Raza Rabbani, the Speaker, Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, allowed to include the discussion on the wave of terrorism.