ISLAMABAD - Hearing a case relating to local government elections, the Supreme Court on Thursday asked all top legal officers of the provinces and the attorney general for Pakistan to submit a schedule for the local body elections.
A three-judge bench of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Khilji Arif Hussain and Justice Tariq Parvez was hearing a case about holding local body elections. All provincial chief secretaries submitted before the bench their reports pertaining to election schedules.
The chief justice advised the incumbent government to adhere to the constitutional command which he said was meant for protecting the fundamental rights of the people of Pakistan.
The bench was apprised that according to the Punjab government, there was a possibility to conduct local government elections by August 10. Balochistan and Sindh governments in their reports maintained that voter lists were yet to be prepared. They said the law and order was also a hurdle in conducting local government elections. During the hearing, Attorney General for Pakistan affirmed the importance of the local government elections, saying if the elections were held in Pakistan, it would be good for the decentralization process in the country according to the provisions of the 18th Amendment.
The bench was informed that last LG tenure ended in 2009 after which no election had taken place. The chief justice said, “Why should the court become party to the government – we will issue order to the government to conduct local body elections on the same day in June this year all over the country.” He said where there was no legislation, an ordinance could be promulgated.
The CJ observed that local government election empowered people and played a pivotal role in establishing contact with the common people.
He said it was a source of people’s representation for resolving their issues, whereas it also bridged the gap between the people and the concerned authorities who were responsible for resolving their issues. During the hearing of a case about the deteriorating law and order in Balochistan at the Quetta Registry last week, the chief justice had directed all four provincial chief secretaries to submit comprehensive reports on the reasons for not holding local body elections in the country.