SHC reserves order on petitions against Karachi delimitations

The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Wednesday reserved its judgment in separate petitions filed by Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) against the decision for delimitation of constituencies in Karachi.

Deputy attorney general Ashiq Raza told the court that ECP re-described electoral boundaries of three National Assembly and eight Sindh Assembly seats in Karachi following the apex court orders. He said that under the section 10-A of the delimitation act, ECP is authorized to delimit the electoral boundaries whenever required. He said the ECP notified the delimitation in the city before announcing election schedule on March 22.

Advocate Farough Naseem on behalf of MQM stated that the ECP’s decision for delimitation of electoral boundaries in Karachi was unconstitutional, as exercise of delimitation without the holding of a fresh census could not be undertaken. He contended that after announcing the schedule for general elections, notification for delimitation could not be issued.

He submitted that the apex court had passed orders in November last year for carrying out exercise of delimitation, adding complying with court orders, the ECP would have accomplished the task after conducting fresh census at that time. He said that now electoral boundaries in the city should be delimited as election schedule has been announced and electoral roll finalized.

Meanwhile, Abdul Qadir Patel, president PPP Karachi division aggrieved by ECP’s notification of delimitation, submitted in petition that it was obligatory for ECP to take all the stakeholders on the board before undertaking exercise of delimitation and issuing notification in this regard. However, he added that ECP without taking stakeholders on board delimited the constituencies.

A division bench headed by Justice Maqbool Baqar reserved the judgment for unspecified time.