SHC dismisses govt plea seeking suspension in show of hands procedure

KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Tuesday dismissed the plea filed by Sindh government seeking the suspension of its order in which Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) was directed to conduct the elections for the representatives of local governments in the province through secret balloting.

SHC bench, headed by Justice Syed Hasan Azhar Rizvi, dismissed the petition after it was apprised that the Sindh government has challenged the verdict in the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

As the respondents have already availed the remedy of Supreme Court, the petition was dismissed.

Earlier on 10th February, SHC directed the provincial election authorities to conduct the elections of mayors, deputy mayors, chairmen and vice chairmen in Sindh through secret balloting.

Just after a day of the verdict, the Sindh government requested the SHC to suspend the operation of its order against show of hands procedure. Later it approached the Apex court against the verdict of SHC.

SHC’s verdict was pronounced last week on the identical petitions filed by Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), Pakistan Muslim League-Functional (PML-F).

MQM and PML-F had requested the court to annul the fourth amendment in Sindh Local Government Bill 2013, which bind the members to cast their votes by showing their hands instead of secret voting for electing mayors and deputy mayors.

“The amendment is the violation of Article 266 of Pakistan’s constitution which allows secret polling. Constitution states that all election, except those of prime minister and chief minister shall be held through secret balloting; therefore any procedure held for electing Local Government (LG) representatives by showing hands will be against the constitution,” they added.

Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) who had joined the proceeding later by filing intervener petitions, submitted there is a rigging suspicion, if the elections for mayor and other local government representatives held through secret balloting. The rigging chances will be terminated through show of hands,” they submitted.