KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) was informed on Monday that the provincial government had already submitted its statement before the court and all political parties had agreed to postpone the LG elections till enactment of the Local Government laws in line with Article 140-A of the Constitution.
During hearing of a petition, filed by Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) regarding delimitation of constituencies and non-compliance of the Supreme Court (SC) directives, Counsel for the MQM Farogh Naseem submitted that certain amendments to the LG laws were crucial before holding of the LG polls.
He submitted that the present LG law was against the spirit of Article 140-A of the Constitution, which empowered the local governments, and the SC had already issued orders to the Sindh government for necessary legislation in that regard.
The SHC division bench, comprising Justice Mohammad Junaid Ghaffar and Justice Amjad Ali Sahito, observed that the ECP had not filed comments in the petition, and issued notices to the Commission for June 23.
MQM leader Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui and others submitted that the provincial election commission had failed to adhere to the principles, laid down by the SC for conducting delimitation of constituencies for holding LG polls in Karachi. They stated that there were certain requirements as per the Sindh Local Government law for declaration of towns, but those conditions had not been fulfilled. Also, the population criteria for formation of union council and town councils had been violated despite objections, raised by the petitioners, they said.
The select committee, constituted for the purpose of amending the Local Government Act, had decided that LG elections could be held only after making necessary reforms in the law. The committee, which held its meeting under the chairmanship of LG Minister Syed Nasir Hussain Shah, along with lawmakers of the MQM and the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, suggested that holding the LG polls would serve no purpose without carrying out necessary reforms in the law.
They were of the view that it would be in the fitness of things and for all political purposes that the LG elections were held after making necessary reforms in the relevant law. MQM Convenor Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui and others had filed a petition in the SHC, seeking implementation of the SC order with regard to the LG law. They said in the petition that the SC had directed the provincial government to establish a local administration that possessed meaningful authority and responsibility in the political arena, and in administrative and financial matters.
They also said that the SC had observed that it was the duty of a province, through the provincial government and the provincial assembly, to purposefully empower local governments so as to comply with their mandatory obligation under Article 140-A of the Constitution.
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