SHC directs ECP conducting free, fair LG polls

KARACHI: The Sindh High Court on Thursday directed the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to conduct free and fair local government polls in accordance with relevant laws.

A division bench, headed by Justice Sajjad Ali Shah, gave this direction while hearing an application seeking court directives for ECP to refund fees collected from aspiring candidates with nomination forms throughout the province.

While disposing of the application, the court ordered ECP to return the nomination fee Rs5000 to the applicant, Mureed Ali Shah.

Nominating ECP through provincial election commissioner as respondents, Mureed had submitted the SHC had set aside the entire exercise of delimitation carried out for the local government elections which were scheduled to be held on December 30, 2013 and ECP was asked to announce new schedule for the local government elections in the province after carrying fresh delimitation of constituencies.

The apex court had also upheld the SHC verdict while dismissing Sindh governments appeal against it, he added.

The applicant stated that after the verdict, election schedule was scraped and no fresh schedule for local polls was announced yet, adding that many aspiring candidates had submitted nomination papers with fees.

He had requested the court to direct the ECP to reimburse the amount collected by ECP with nomination papers.

It is pertinent to mention here that the ECP had submitted a schedule of holding LG polls to the Supreme Court, stating that polls will be held in three stages, with the third stage ending on March 26, 2016.

However, SC rejected the proposed schedule and asked the election commission to hold the polling four months before its given schedule, as a lot of time has already been wasted by the election commission.

Subsequently, ECP agreed to revise its proposed schedule and hold the polls by September 2015.

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