Islamabad local government order declared null and void by High Court

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has struck down the Islamabad Local Governance Ordinance 2021 ordering authorities to hold elections under the Local Government Act 2015.

IHC Judge Mohsin Akhtar Kayani ruled in favor of petitions filed by former Union Council (UC) Chairman Sardar Mehtab, the Capital Development Authority (CDA) Union and the Association of the CDA.

The ordinance, which had been signed into law by President Arif Alvi, was challenged in court through various petitions which had argued that it would weaken the power of elected officials in local government.

The petitioners argued that the direct election of the mayor and the removal of the post of deputy mayor, in accordance with the order, was unconstitutional.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) enacted the ordinance after Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad (MCI) completed its five-year term in February 2021. Pakistan Muslim Legaue-N (PML-N) had won the last elections local held in 2015.

CDA workers, along with members of different unions, staged a protest against the ordinance in December 2021, saying the ordinance would ruin “a beautiful city like Islamabad”.

The PTI’s repeated use of presidential orders has already raised concerns this year, when controversial amendments to the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act (PECA) order were signed into law by President Alvi. Critics of the order said the president circumvented legislative procedure to implement an order aimed at curbing dissent.

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