PML-N, PPP don’t want LB polls in Punjab and Sindh: SC



The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Wednesday observed that the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) do not want to hold local bodies’ polls in Sindh and Punjab respectively.
A three-member bench of the SC, led by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Tassaduq Hussain Jillani took up for hearing delimitation of constituencies case.
CJP Tassaduq Hussain Jillani said, “It is interesting aspect of our democratic governments that ruling party on becoming opposition party talks of democracy but forgets democracy after coming to power.”
He further said, “Provincial governments don’t want cake sharing by holding local bodies’ polls. Prima facie sections 7 and 17 of Local Bodies (LB) laws enacted by Punjab government run counter to each other. The lawmakers have not made distinct the powers of election commission and governments on holding the local bodies’ elections.”
Justice Khilji Arif Hussain said, “PML-N and PPP don’t want to hold LB polls in Punjab and Sindh respectively because they fear this way they will have to devolve powers at grassroots level. Such a vital case is being heard but not a single political party has dared to knock the door of court. Only Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has approached the court but without lawyer… Holding LB polls are clearly laid out in the electoral manifestoes of all, including PML-N and PPP. But it is thing which can be said only and is not implemented.”
Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed said, “The level of seriousness of the political parties is this that they have accepted the conflicting decisions of court with reference to local bodies laws. No one is ready to resort to high court and the decision is sought by shifting entire burden to the shoulders of Supreme Court.”
Akram Sheikh, Athar Siddique, PPP General Secretary Latif Khosa and other lawyers appeared in the court.
Khosa said that his party is ready to hold LB polls in Sindh.
The CJP said, “Read Section 19 wherein mention is made about LB polls. Making delimitation of constituencies as per Section 7 by the government is in violation of Articles 19, 222 and other articles. How can Election Commission (EC) exercise these powers?”
Akram Sheikh said, “This is my case.”
Counsel for Sindh government said, “We have to take decision after seeing the high court decision with reference to Punjab government.”
The CJP remarked, “If EC has to conduct LB polls then 1974 Act will have to be adopted. A vacuum has been left in 18th Amendment which has not been filled. It has not been explained who will carry out delimitations.”
Sheikh said Section 7 empowers provincial governments to create eight union councils to hold LB polls. What is left more when EC has said that 1974 Act is only workable act? If EC carries out delimitation then 18th Amendment is left with no more jobs to do.”
Khosa said the situation was not good. “May I appear as general secretary PPP? Our party is in power in Sindh.”
Justice Hussain said, “If your party is a national party then why you are not taking stand in Sindh?”
The CJP said, “PML-N has taken stand in Punjab. We can give you time. You should give written reply of your party. What is your viewpoint about delimitations?”
Justice Azmat remarked, “It is work of wonder on the part of PPP and Punjab government that they are declaring two clashing decisions correct. We are not political people. You all are sitting on the bank of river and no one is ready to enter into the river. Then what decision we can give.”
The court directed PPP general secretary Latif Khosa and Election Commission of Pakistan to file within 24 hours their stance in writing on the matters related to violation of Articles 9 and 222 and section 7 and 17 of local bodies’ laws being in conflict.”
The hearing of the case was adjourned until Thursday.