ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: The Supreme Court on Wednesday remarked that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) is a constitutional institution which enjoys the powers to delimit constituencies which the commission should exercise.
The observation came during the hearing of a petition filed against the Sindh High Court (SHC) verdict directing the ECP to complete the process of delimitation of eight districts of Sindh within 24 hours and to hold the Local Bodies (LB) elections as per election schedule on November 19.
The petition, filed by ECP, was heard by a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali and consisting of Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed and Justice Qazi Faez Issa.
During the course of proceeding, Munir Paracha, counsel for ECP appeared before the court and apprised that the LB elections were going to take place on November 19 while the Sindh High Court had given its verdict for the delimitation of eight districts in Sindh in less than 48 hours.
He further stated that the ECP received the SHC directives on Tuesday at 3 pm and it was not possible for the commission to complete the whole process in such a short time.
Paracha pleaded that the apex court should issue restraining orders of SHC from implementation and let the election be held as per previous schedule.
Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali remarked that it was not the duty of the Supreme Court to issue such orders or to stop the SHC from issuing any orders regarding the delimitation. He added that the ECP, being a constitutional institution, should take decision about delimitation as it has powers to do so.
Munir Paracha argued that the provincial government had the authority to divide urban and rural areas and not the ECP. He added that the ECP acted upon the provincial government suggestions regarding delimitations of urban and rural areas but then some political parties went to high court showing their reservations.
He apprised the court that from any decision regarding the delimitation in Sindh, eight districts would be effected where the LB elections were scheduled to take place on November 19.
However, the bench, in its ruling maintained that the process of delimitation was the job of ECP which should fulfill its job whereas directed the ECP to submit its reply regarding the implementation of SHC verdict of delimitation process within two weeks and adjourned further hearing till then.