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October 5, 2019

LG law contrary to Election Act, court told


October 5, 2019

LAHORE: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Friday told the Lahore High Court that Punjab Local Government Act 2019 was inconsistent to the Election Act 2017 as well as self-contradictory in nature.

The ECP counsel stated before a full bench seized with dozens of petitions that the local government polls were not possible under the impugned law due to contradictions in the process for election and the delimitation given in it.

Senior Puisne judge, Justice Mamoon Rashid Sheikh, headed the bench with Justice Shahid Waheed and Justice Jawad Hassan. The petitioners include Lahore’s former lord mayor ® Col Mubashir Javed, nine deputy mayors of Lahore, former chairman district council of Narowal Ahmad Iqbal, son of former interior minister Ahsan Iqbal.

Senior lawyers Khalid Ranjha, Ahsan Bhoon, Azam Nazir Tarar, Mobeenuddin Qazi, Usama Khawar Ghumman, and others represented the petitioners. Advocate General Punjab Ahmad Jamal Sukhera represented the provincial government and questioned the competency of the petitions. The bench sought personal appearance of provincial secretaries for law and local government on next hearing and directed the petitioners’ counsel to file their rejoinders.

The bench dismissed an identical petition of former federal minister Danyal Aziz for non prosecution. The petitioners mainly contended that the PLGA-2019 had been passed in hasty and arbitrary manner as no debate was held on it in the assembly. They said after the promulgation of new law, the previous local government institutions were abolished before the expiry of their five-year constitutional term.

They asked the court to declare that all elected to office under the 2013 law were entitled to complete their constitutional term and suspend operation of the PLGA-2019 until completion of the term of the sitting setup.

remand extended: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Lahore on Friday extended the judicial remand of former provincial minister and PTI leader Sibtain Khan and three others for 14 days, accused of awarding illegal contracts.

As the hearing commenced, the judge asked the NAB prosecutor why the bureau was not filing a reference against the accused. To which, the prosecutor informed the court that the reference had entered into its final stage and it would be filed after the approval of the NAB chairman.

Moreover, the former minister didn’t appear before the court due to some personal reasons and sought exemption from the hearing which was granted by the court. The court has extended judicial remand of the accused directing the NAB to file a reference as soon as possible.

The PTI stalwart Sibtain Khan was arrested by NAB on June 14 which claimed that he had awarded an allegedly illegal contract for extracting minerals in Chiniot in 2007 in the capacity of provincial forestry minister.

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