KARACHI: The Sindh High Court on Monday directed the chief election commissioner, Sindh chief secretary, local government secretary, and law secretary to respond to a petition seeking suspension of the Election Commission of Pakistan’s two notifications regarding appointment of assistant delimitation officers and schedule for delimitations of constituencies for the local government polls.
The petitioner, Syed Zafar Ali Shah, submitted that in compliance with the Supreme Court orders, the Sindh government promulgated on March 2 Sindh Local Government (Amendment) Bill, 2015, under which the Sindh government shall determine the number of union councils, union committees and wards in municipal committees and town committees for the local government elections. After demarcation, the election commission shall delimit the union councils, union committees and wards.
He stated that the Sindh government malafidely retained delimitation powers to commit gerrymandering and the ruling party wanted to win the local government elections through gerrymandering and unlawful means.
He argued that as per the dictum laid down by the apex court the delimitation exercise is to be undertaken by the ECP and not by the Sindh, adding it was duty of the executive authorities to assist the ECP in discharging its duties.
The petitioner pleaded to the court to nullify the Bill’s sections empowering Sindh government to demarcate boundaries of council and wards instead of the ECP is unconstitutional. The court was prayed to suspend the operation of the Bill while restraining Sindh government from demarcating councils and wards.
On Monday, the petitioner filed a miscellaneous application, saying the ECP had issued a notification on March 29 for appointment of assistant commissioners, mukhtiarkars, and town officers as assistant delimitation officers to carry out delimitation exercise. It issued another notification on March 26 announcing schedule for delimitations. He pleaded to the court to suspend the operation above-mentioned both notifications until his petition against Sindh Local Government (Amendment) Bill, 2015 is decided.
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