SHC seeks comments on new LG law

KARACHI: Sindh High Court (SHC) on Thursday directed chief federal and provincial law officers to submit their comments on a petition of Jamaat-e-Islami against the new local government law.

JI Karachi chief Hafiz Naeemur Rehman has filed a petition questioning the population criterion and the delimitation carried out for setting up union committees and councils in the city.

The petitioner represented by advocate Rasheed A Rizvi submitted before the court that Constitution of Pakistan gives every citizen right to contest local government elections but provincial government has deprived the citizens of contesting elections by imposing condition of forming panel to contest elections.

He said that the panel system for voting violates the basic rights of citizens while the election of the chairpersons and vice chairpersons through councillors is undemocratic.

He submitted that citizens had right to directly contact the chairpersons and vice chairpersons for their problems and that was why the election to these offices should be through the direct vote of citizens.

He referred to irregularities and rigging in the May 11 elections and said it was necessary to introduce the biometric system for the polls to curbing these practices.

He said the government was avoiding introducing the biometric system for the verification of the voters and it was tantamount to pre-poll rigging.

He told the two-judge bench that 65 percent population of the country comprised youth and acknowledging this fact, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province was giving due representation to them in the local government system.

He said that youth should be given representation in every union council and a seat should be allocated for the youth like it is for women, labourers and minorities,” Rehman stated in the petition.

The court was prayed to declare the amendments to the Local Government Act null and void besides terming it against the Constitution. He also prayed to make the use of the biometric system and magnetic ink necessary for the local government polls.

After hearing preliminary arguments, the bench of SHC headed by Justice Sajjad Ali Shah issued notice to attorney general of Pakistan and advocate general of Sindh. The bench adjourned the hearing of the case by January 06, 2014.

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