Pakistan News

ECP promises to announce Islamabad LG election date today

ECP promises to announce Islamabad LG election date today

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) assured the Supreme Court on Thursday that the schedule for holding the first-ever party-based local government polls in Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) will be announced on Friday.

ECP Additional Director General (Law) Mohammad Arshad assured the court that the schedule will be announced on Friday after Additional Attorney General (AAG) Aamir Rehman told a three-judge Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice Jawwad S Khawaja that the rules under which the polls were to be held had been drawn up.

The bench had taken up an ECP application seeking directions for the federal government to expedite the passage of the bill and frame the rules enabling the commission to hold local government elections in ICT.

But on Aug 4, President Mamnoon Hussain gave his assent to the Federal Capital Territory Local Government Bill, which the National Assembly had passed along with the amendments proposed by the Senate suggesting party-based elections for the local government in ICT on July 29.

The last local government elections in Islamabad were held in 1992 under the Federal Capital Local Government Ordinance 1979, but those were limited to 12 rural union councils in the peripheries of Islamabad.

When the case was taken up on Thursday, the AAG told the court that the process of framing of the rules had been completed and the same had also been notified. He also submitted copies of the notification under which the local bodies elections were to be held.

The chief justice then adjourned further proceedings for 40 days, when the delimitation of wards in Islamabad would have been completed.

Earlier, on March 10, the ECP had proposed elections be held on July 25.

Airport billboards

In a separate case, the same bench expressed its extreme displeasure over a huge billboard, commissioned by the ‘Air League’ union at the Benazir Bhutto International Airport, Islamabad.

“Have you ever visited Islamabad airport and seen the billboard,” Justice Qazi Faez Isa asked Islamabad Airport Manager Malik Afzal Malik.

“Have you been to other international airports and have you ever seen pictures of prime ministers, other leaders or members of the union at these airports,” the judge inquired.

The airport manager, however, replied that the building where the billboard had been displayed had been handed over to the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) fopr the purposes of setting up an office. The CAA receives a monthly rent for the building, he explained.

“Will you hand over everything to the union,” Justice Qazi asked again. “Why not put the picture of the chief justice there,” the judge suggested.

“Will you allow posters of candidates participating in the upcoming local government elections at the airports,” Justice Dost Mohammad Khan asked, regretting that even bus stations in Pakistan were in better condition than the airports.

The airport manager, however, assured the court that the billboard would be removed immediately.

Published in Dawn, August 28th, 2015

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