The orders of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) to conduct the local government elections in the federal capital today were contested by the federal government and the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Saturday in separate intra-court petitions (December 31).
The IHC registrar’s office objected to the intra-court appeal, claiming the plea lacked the necessary documentation. According to sources, the ECP’s legal counsel is attempting to resolve the matter.
The electoral authority had requested that the internal court appeal be heard as a way. The federal government has filed a different intra-court appeal in opposition to the IHC’s rulings.
Imran Khan, the party’s chairman, claimed in a tweet that the ECP had demonstrated that it was a “B team of the imported government and its backers” by refusing to carry out the IHC decisions.
“PDM, fearful of the people, is running away from all elections. The right to vote is a fundamental democratic norm and PTI stands committed to it,” he added.
Asad Umar, the general secretary of the PTI, stated in a separate video message earlier today that his party’s staff had been outside voting places since the morning but that no representatives from the electoral board had appeared.
He demanded to know why the ECP’s preparations weren’t complete, saying “This imported government is terrified of people […] they run away whenever elections are held […] they make excuses.”
Umar continued, “We want the court to launch contempt of court proceedings against the electoral commission and dismiss them.”
The IHC ordered the ECP to hold the LG election on Friday according to plan. The order was made by Justice Arbab Muhammad Tahir in response to a petition filed by the PTI and JI challenging the election body’s decision to “temporarily” postpone the elections in light of the government’s plan to increase the number of union councils (UCs). After the results were announced, the ECP called an emergency meeting on Friday night after learning that over 14,000 of the poll workers were teachers and employees of other departments who were on winter break, making it difficult to conduct the election.
Despite respecting the court’s decision, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah stated on Friday that it would be four months before local government elections could be held. Speaking to the media, Mr Sanaullah asserted that threats had already been made against Islamabad as a result of a suicide attack that occurred nearby the I-10 a few days before.
In reference to the LG polling arrangements, he claimed that it was impossible to set up 1,000 polling locations immediately. The general election, which he said would take place in October, would not happen for at least 10 months.