The Islamabad Local Government (Amendment) Bill was returned by President Arif Alvi on Sunday after he voiced his disagreements with the text.
The legislation sought to bring the total number of union councils up to 125. Following Section (1) (b) of Article 75 of the Pakistani Constitution, the unsigned measure was returned.
Following a modification in the union councils of the capital territory, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) postponed the LG elections on December 27. The elections were originally set for December 31, 2022, in Islamabad.
“Actions of the federal government taken in hurry resulted in delaying election process twice, which was anathema to democracy,” The president of Pakistan said in a tweet today. Alvi added that it had also been claimed that the federal government’s “mala fide acts” had caused Islamabad’s local government elections to be postponed.
Dr Alvi pointed out that the present bill changed the number of UCs to 125 after the delineation was complete and the ECP had set polls for December 31. This caused another postponement. He added that, following the publication of the election date, the mechanism of the mayor and deputy mayor elections was also amended via the bill.
According to the most recent development, the ECP was unable to carry out the Islamabad High Court’s (IHC) directive to hold local government elections in Islamabad on December 31.
In-court challenges were filed against the decision by the federal government and the electoral monitor.
Even though the IHC ordered the LG elections to be held in the federal capital, the ECP personnel was unable to get to the appropriate polling places, where long lines of voters were waiting to cast their ballots.
Alvi claimed that the ECP resolved to hold elections in ICT on December 31, 2022, following the demarcation of 101 UCs. He said, however, that because Section 2 of the new Bill calls for 125 UCs in the federal capital, the elections that were originally set for December 31, 2022, have once again been postponed.
Alvi stated that the Mayor and Deputy Mayor elections were adjusted after the election calendar was announced per Section 3 of the existing Bill.