The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has decided to postpone local government elections in Islamabad as it agreed to conduct a new delimitation exercise in the federal territory and raise the number of union councils.
The decision came after the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) approached the Islamabad High Court (IHC) pleading to extend the date for the local body polls.
In his petition, PML-N leader Tariq Fazal Chaudhry, through his counsel Adil Aziz, urged the court to direct the election watchdog to increase the number of union councils in Islamabad and hold LG elections after new delimitations. The ECP subsequently agreed to increase the number of union councils.
The ECP has stated that it will announce the new schedule within 65 days after completing the delimitation.
“We have to complete delimitations in 600 wards which will require at least two months,” it explained.
Meanwhile, the ECP retracted the schedule for 50 union councils in Islamabad and announced the decision to make 101 new ones.
The court told the election watchdog to also decide petitions regarding vote transfers from one ward to another.
Earlier, the election commission had stated that delimitations would be finalised before the announcement of the LG polls schedule.
It also requested the court to order the government to cooperate with the ECP and fulfil its constitutional duties as it alleged that governments tend to cause hindrances in local body elections.
In May, the ECP had withdrawn the schedule for Islamabad LG elections soon after setting the timetable for holding polls on July 17 citing technical deficiencies.
In June, responding to a plea challenging the local body elections in the federal capital the chief justice had rejected the request for a stay order and remarked that people couldn’t be deprived of their representation.