Court gives govt 10 days to justify union councils' increase in Islamabad.

ISLAMABAD -- The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has given the federal government 10 days - the time period required by the election watchdog to conduct elections on 101 union councils (UCs) - to justify the increase in the number of UCs in Islamabad at a time when local government (LG) elections were just a few days away.

A division bench hearing intra-court appeals against an earlier order of the single-member bench also sought minutes of the cabinet meeting and the subsequent summary for an increase in the number of UCs. The court will examine if the decision to increase the number of constituencies from 101 to 125 was 'inevitable'.

During the hearing, Advocate Minhas, who was representing voters from nine UCs whose names were registered in other union councils, argued before the court that the voters were the real stakeholders. The beneficiaries, including political parties and candidates, have gone into litigation and were insisting to hold these elections on 'polluted' electoral rolls, he said, referring to the 'erroneous' voters list.

Mr Minhas pointed out that about 10,000 voters were registered in UCs than their own.

Citing an earlier order of IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq, the counsel said the court on Dec 23 asked the ECP to look into these inconsistencies; however, the ECP did not bother to address the grievances of the aggrieved voters.

Election Commission says can conduct polls in capital's 101 union councils in seven to 10 days

'Voters list'

At this, ECP's Director General Law Mohammad Arshad informed the court that the ECP convened the court on Dec 28 but only a single petitioner showed up. That person was told to report to the district election commissioner for the correction of his name, he added.

Qazi Adil Aziz advocate, another appellant in this case, argued that since the ECP had already postponed the elections on Dec 27, the aggrieved voters did not appear before the commission the next day for rectification of electoral rolls.

He said Justice Arbab Mohammad Tahir ordered the election watchdog to hold the elections on Dec 31 without even providing him an opportunity for hearing.

Additional Attorney General Barrister Munawar Iqbal Duggal told the court that...

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