Karachi mayoral poll result subject to outcome of JI plea: SHC

Karachi mayoral poll result subject to outcome of JI plea: SHC

Karachi mayoral poll result subject to outcome of JI plea: SHC

Karachi mayoral poll result subject to outcome of JI plea: SHC

  • Plea challenges law allowing unelected persons to contest mayor post.
  • The court says that no case for interim relief had been made out.
  • Wahab was elected as the mayor on Thursday, securing 173 votes.

Karachi mayoral poll result subject to outcome of JI plea: SHC ,The Sindh High Court (SHC) issued a ruling on Thursday stating that the outcome of the mayoral election in the city will be dependent on the resolution of a petition challenging the recent amendments to the local government law. These amendments allow unelected individuals to participate in elections for the positions of mayor and deputy mayor, as reported by The News.

In response to the plea filed by Hafiz Naeem Ur Rehman, the Karachi Emir of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), seeking a stay order on the election for the mayor and deputy mayor posts, a division bench of the SHC headed by Justice Yousuf Ali Sayeed stated that the enforcement of the LG Act 2023 and its amendments could not be suspended as an interim measure. The court further declared that although no case for interim relief had been established, the result of the election would be subject to the final outcome of the petition.

The petitioner had sought interim relief to suspend the notification issued by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) regarding the mayoral and deputy mayoral election. The grounds for this request were that the notification was in violation of the 1973 Constitution, lacked lawful authority, and held no legal effect. The petitioner aimed to restrain the ECP and the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation from taking any action based on Section 18-B of the Amendment Act.

The petitioner’s counsel highlighted that Section 18 of the Act made membership of the corporation/council an essential condition for eligibility to contest the election for the position of chairman or mayor. Prior to the 2023 Act, it was necessary for a person to go through a direct electoral process to become eligible for either of these positions. However, the insertion of Section 18-B in the 2023 Act by the provincial government eliminated this requirement, allowing any person to be elected.

The counsel argued that Section 3 of the 2023 Act violated the fundamental principle of representative democracy at the local government level, which is based on vesting executive authority in elected representatives of the people, as enshrined in Article 140-A of the constitution.

The Sindh advocate general raised objections regarding the petitioner’s right to bring the case to court (locus standi) and the maintainability of the petition. He pointed out that the petitioner belonged to a political party whose elected representatives in the provincial assembly had voted in favor of the 2023 Act, which had been passed unanimously. He emphasized that the 2023 Act had been passed by the provincial assembly on May 11 and received the governor’s assent on the same day. It was published in the Sindh Government Gazette on May 12.

The advocate general argued that the legislative competence of the provincial assembly allowed them to enact the 2023 Act, and its provisions did not violate any constitutional provisions. Therefore, the operation of the Act, as amended, should not be suspended pending the final determination of its constitutionality.

Rehman, who was elected as the North Nazimabad UC-8 chairman, stated in his petition that the contested amendment had been promulgated and deemed to have taken effect on December 31, 2021. He argued that this amendment infringed upon a closed and concluded electoral process by allowing unelected individuals to be elected as chairman and mayor.

In the mayoral election, Wahab secured 173 votes to become the mayor, defeating JI’s Rehman, who received 160 votes.

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