ISLAMABAD - The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Tuesday filed a review petition in the Supreme Court against its decision to reject the ECP’s request seeking delay in the conduct of local government elections in Sindh and Punjab provinces.

The petition was filed after the Registrar Supreme Court declared the concise statement of the ECP as not entertainable on the grounds that the matter to the extent of local government elections in constitutional petition 77/2010 has already been disposed of on November 5, 2013.

Earlier, the ECP through advocate Akram Sheikh on Monday had filed the concise statement seeking more time from the Supreme Court to hold local governments elections in Punjab and Sindh provinces as the necessary arrangements could not be completed for the polls in the given schedule.

The statement said that the Sindh government’s request for holding polls on December 7, 2013, instead of November 27, will not help the holding of LG elections in that province as the procurement of paper and printing of ballot papers would not be possible even during the extended period.

And the Punjab, in pursuance of the Lahore High Court Punjab, now wanted elections on party basis, while the ECP had issued election schedule for that province on non-party basis, therefore, the nomination forms which are scheduled to be received by the ROs from November 11, 2013, need amendment after the LHC decision.

SINDH TO APPROACH SC AGAIN

Staff Reporter from Karachi adds: Despite acceptance of plea of Sindh government to extend the date for 10 days by the Supreme Court, uncertainty looms over holding the local government elections on December 7.

Lack of interest is witnessed in receiving the nomination forms by the candidates. The Sindh government and the political parties are stick on their demand of delaying the polls for 90 days.

With dull response from the political parties regarding the polls schedule, the Sindh government on Tuesday also forwarded the resolution passed by the Sindh Assembly with unanimous stance of all the political parties.

Sindh government has also announced to again approach the Supreme Court with a plea to postpone the local government elections as ground realities and formalities of delimitation, electoral rolls and publishing of ballot papers required sufficient time.

In this regard, Sindh Government Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs Dr Sikandar Mandhro while speaking to media at Sindh Assembly on Tuesday confirmed that provincial government again approached the Supreme Court and Election Commission. The government approached the concerned to apprise them about the ground realities and legal formalities, a prerequisite for the local government elections, yet to be completed.

“No one will trust the process and results of polls if local government elections held in haste in the province,” he warned. No one can go in the election process in the Muharram-ul-Haram. The minister said the Sindh Assembly had passed a unanimous resolution to delay the LG elections which must be honoured as provincial legislature is the collective voice of 50 million people of the province.

When asked if the Supreme Court and Election Commission of Pakistan did not accept the request to delay the polls, he said the provincial government would implement the order of the apex court but credibility of elections will become questionable and no one trust the process and results for which the ECP would be held responsible.

Meanwhile, a delegation of PPP led by its provincial general secretary and former senator, Taj Haider met with Provincial Election Commissioner SM Tariq Iqbal on Tuesday and expressed reservations about the upcoming LG polls.

The PPP Sindh chapter has also sent a letter to the Chief Election Commissioner of Pakistan, drawing his attention towards the limited period for receiving and submitting the nominations forms.

He argued: “On November 12 being the last day for submission of these papers, a large number of intending candidates have even not been able to collect the nomination forms. The administration too is over occupied in security duties due to Muharram Majalis and processions.”

He said the concerned offices would also remain closed on 9th and 10th Muharram, requesting the ECP to extend the last date for submission of nomination papers till December 17.

Though, the ECP is stick to conducting the local government elections on December 7 but the election activities are dull because all the political parties are not in a mood to go in the polls in protest against the hastily process as well as Muharram-ul-Haram.