President Arif Alvi has “returned unsigned” an amendment bill which would have increased the number of existing union councils in Islamabad, saying the amendment to the law would “further delay local government elections”.
The move comes a day after the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) challenged Islamabad high court’s orders to hold local government elections on their originally scheduled date. This triggered a fresh round of litigation on the local government polls in Pakistan’s federal capital.
President Dr Arif Alvi has returned unsigned the Islamabad Capital Territory Local Government (Amendment) Bill, 2022 in terms of clause (1) (b) of Article 75 of the Constitution.
— The President of Pakistan (@PresOfPakistan) January 1, 2023
In a statement from the presidency, the bill was returned to Parliament with the observation that it would further delay local government elections in Islamabad.
“Actions of the federal government taken in hurry resulted in delaying election process twice, which was anathema to democracy,” the presidency said.
It further stated that elections could not be held in Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) due to the “malafide actions” of the federal government.
The “unsigned” bill was passed by the National Assembly and the Senate on 22 December, after the cabinet decided to increase the number of UCs from 101 to 125. The decision came barely ten days before the elections on 31 December, causing their postponement.