SHC reserves verdict on new delimitations

Karachi: Sindh High Court (SHC) on Tuesday reserved its verdict on five different petitions against the new delimitation of constituencies for the local government elections.

A two-judge bench of SHC headed by Justice Mohammed Ali Mazhar heard the arguments from parties at length and reserved judgment, which would be announced on a date to be fixed later by the court office. The court has clubbed together all petitions against the new delimitation in parts of the province.

The Muttahida Qaumi Movement represented by counsel Dr Faroogh Naseem argued that two notifications were issued regarding delimitation of constituencies ahead of local government elections, whereby 38 union committee were created in Malir district and 47 in South district Karachi.

He argued that 38 union committees for district Malir were notified, though he added that earlier all functionaries for district Malir had agreed that there would be 20 committees and 21 union councils for Malir district, which becomes a total of 41.

The party requested the court to declare the delimitation of constituencies for local government elections illegal and restrain authorities from conducting local government elections in the Malir and South districts.

One of the petitions was filed by Syed Mureed Ali Shah against the appointments of commissioners as heads of election tribunals and deputy commissioners as delimitation officers. He argued that Article 140-A of the Constitution mandated the establishment of a local government system and the Election Commission of Pakistan to hold the elections, while Article 140-A(2) of the Constitution suggested that ECP was duty bound to carry out the exercise of delimitation.

He said that the delimitation process was to be carried out by ECP only and not by the delimitation officers and the provincial government through a notification had appointed delimitation officers which was unconstitutional as it violated the constitutional mandate

Petitioner Muhammad Shareef Mirbahar challenged the delimitation exercise in Thatta district. He assailed the delimitation exercise in upgraded Town Committee Khan at Var and submitted that the respondent intended to expand the boundaries of the town committee by including two more Dehs called Karalo and Ghato.

Former MNA Zafar Ali Shah also filed a petition against the appointments of commissioners as election tribunals and deputy commissioners as delimitation officers. Petitioner Abdul Jabbar Khan in his petition challenged the delimitation process in parts of Shaheed Benazirabad.

Petitioners Muhammad Hanif Qureshi and Mumtaz Ali Abro assailed the delimitation notification relating to different wards in Karachi.

Chief provincial law officer Khalid Jawed Khan submitted that preparations for local government elections was underway and added that if court passed any judgment regarding delimitation of constituencies, it would impinge on elections process. Hence, he pleaded the court to dismiss the petitions.

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