ISLAMABAD: The apex court allowed the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to hold Local Government elections in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa as per its schedule. The polls for village, neighbourhood and tehsil councils in 17 districts of the KP will be held on December 19.
A two-member bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Umar Ata Bandial, on Tuesday, heard the KP government’s appeal against the Peshawar High Court (PHC)’s order to hold local body elections in the province on party basis.
The bench turned down the KP advocate general plea to order the ECP to change the LGs election schedule. It maintained that the local body elections in the KP will be held on party basis as per schedule.
It stated that the ECP has taken all the necessary steps to implement the decision of the PHC and that the issue of the local body elections schedule had already been delayed for two years.
Justice Bandial said: “It is necessary to strengthen political parties to strengthen democracy in the country. Political parties cannot be excluded from the political process.” The judge said, “We strongly oppose changing history.”
Justice Mansoor Ali Shah maintained that no political party came to the court, nor did they indicate that the PHC’s decision caused them harm. A larger bench of the PHC on November 2, 2021 had declared the provision of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Local Government Act (KPLGA) for the holding of elections of village and neighbourhood councils unconstitutional, and directed the ECP and the provincial government to hold the forthcoming polls on party basis.
The PHC struck down Section 27(2) of the Act, which envisages the holding of the elections of village council and neighbourhood council on non-party basis, and declared it in conflict with Article 17 of the Constitution.
The PHC had also declared, unconstitutional, Part-II of 11th Schedule to the KPLGA, amended through those amendments in 2019, to the extent of providing elections of village and neighbourhood councils on non-party basis and declared that as per the schedule of the ECP issued on October 25, those polls should be held on party basis.
Local Government Act 2013 was substituted vide Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Local Government (Amendment) Act NoXXV of 2019, which squarely falls beyond its domain? The KP appeal states that whether the PHC has not lost sight of interpretation of Article 17 of Constitution by failing to take into regard that the said article is neither directory or mandatory for holding the election on party basis, rather the same only directs the right of forming a political party or inclusion therein as a member. The court adjourned the hearing of the case indefinitely.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021