Following a revision in the union councils of the federal capital, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Tuesday postponed the local body elections in Islamabad that were originally set for December 31.
A five-member bench, presided by by Chief Election Commissioner Sikander Sultan Raja, had earlier in the day heard the petition and reserved a decision.
Former Pakistani Attorney General Ashtar Ausaf spoke before the court today on behalf of the federal government, saying that the federal capital’s rising population led to an increase in the number of union councils.
CEC Sikander Raja inquired as to the status of the census report’s publication.
The census agency had informed the bench about the population growth in Islamabad, the former attorney Gener said, adding that the ECP needed to take the population growth into consideration.
The Islamabad High Court (IHC) acknowledged the population growth but gave the Election Commission the go-ahead to make the final decision after hearing the government’s side, according to Ausaf, who spoke to the bench.
He informed the bench that elections had previously been postponed even after the schedule was made public.
Elections are scheduled to take place on December 31, according to PTI’s attorney Babar Awan, who also reminded the bench that the law has previously undergone two changes.
Awan said that the government was deceiving the ECP.
Awan stated that “the president has not yet accepted the law,” adding that the president can oppose and support the ECP’s position on the local body elections by returning the measure to Parliament within 10 days.
The PTI attorney added that if the president approves the bill, the law may be contested in court and that, per Article 264, elections must still be held in accordance with the previous law even if a new one is passed.
As he was drawing to a close, the PTI attorney pleaded with the bench to allow the elections to take place on December 31.