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K-P to challenge PHC ruling on LG polls

PESHAWAR:

The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) government has decided to move the Supreme Court against the Peshawar High Court (PHC) directive to hold neighbourhood and village council elections on party basis.
Information Minister Kamran Bangash on Friday said that in each neighbourhood and village council three general councilors will be elected each and issuing party tickets to three candidates will cause confusion.
“This will be complicated for parties to issue tickets to three candidates not to speak of confusion caused among the voters due to presence of multiple candidates from each party,” he said.
Bangash said that if the PHC decision is followed then an amendment would be required in Local Government Act.
“Schedule for the local bodies’ polls has already been announced and if we go for amendments in the act then it will take time which is a luxury we don’t have,” he explained, adding that the government believed in the supremacy of judiciary and rule of law.
“We are going to use our legal right of approaching the Supreme Court. This is our constitutional right too,” he said.
It is worth noting here that the government had announced after the PHC decision that it had reservations on the verdict and it was going to share it with the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP). The analysts were of the view that the provincial government was not happy about the PHC decision but it was bing diplomatic in its reaction.
Read LG polls in K-P on party basis only: PHC
The decision to move the Supreme Court was taken after the Election Commission also decided that the election schedule would not be disturbed by the PHC decision.
PHC had ruled that holding neighbourhood and village council elections on non-party basis were against the constitution of Pakistan and directed ECP to hold them on party affiliation basis. PHC also ordered that the elections would be held as per the already issued schedule.
The K-P government had constituted a four-member committee to consult ECP and inform it about the complications created as a result of the PHC ruling. ECP, however, announced once again that the schedule for the local bodies’ polls will not be changed.
On Thursday in a press conference in Islamabad, Kamran Bangah, Shaukat Yousafzai, Taimur Saleem Jhagra and Shahram Tarakai announced that government would have consultation to challenge the decision but the final decision will be taken by the provincial cabinet.
It is worth noting here that political observers are under the impression that if a stay order is issued by the Supreme Court of Pakistan then the local bodies’ polls could be postponed. The PTI government had already proposed holding elections next year due to law and order situation in the province following the arrival of Taliban in Afghanistan. The ECP, however, was not in favour of delaying the local bodies’ polls on any pretext.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 6th, 2021.

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