JI challenges law allowing unelected persons to contest mayoral poll

Jamal Khurshid
Thursday, Jun 08, 2023

The Jamaat-e-Islami on Wednesday challenged in the Sindh High Court an amendment to the Sindh Local Government Act 2013 that allows unelected persons to contest the election to the mayoral post. Hafiz Naeemur Rehman, who is the JI chief in Karachi and has been elected as chairman of Union Council 8 of North Nazimabad, submitted in the petition that the government introduced an amendment to the local government act waiving the condition that only an elected person can contest the election to the slot of the mayor of a metropolitan corporation, and chairman of town and municipal committees.

The JI leader said that Section 3 of the amended act allows any person to be elected to the post of chairman or mayor and casts away the precondition of the membership/election, which, he said, is illegal on account that representative democracy is premised on the vesting of executive authority with persons who are elected representatives and members of a constitutive body.He further submitted that the impugned amendment was promulgated and deemed to have taken force on and from December 31, 2021 whereby a past and closed electoral process had been infringed upon by making an allowance for an unelected person to be elected to the post of chairman or mayor.

He said the amendment subverts the electoral process and seeks the appointment of an unelected person with an aim to allow the same person to exercise the executive authority. He said the legislation was a clear attempt at prejudicing the electoral process by way of such an amendment, which means a non-elected person shall be entitled to hold a public office and exercise executive authority indefinitely. He said the amendment is a calculated attempt to favour certain persons, and requested the court to declare it unlawful and ultra vires of the constitution.

Talking to journalists after the filing the petition, the JI leader said the Pakistan Peoples Party government in Sindh has been mocking the law, the constitution and democracy. He said that the PPP wants to install its mayor in Karachi by hook or by crook in defiance of all democratic norms and the spirit of the constitution.

He said the PPP under its feudal mindset amended the local government act even after the elections to pave the way for installing an unelected but person of choice as head of the towns and city councils — a malafide act by all means that contradicts the democratic norms and the constitution. The JI leader said his party had already proved its majority in the city council despite all the conspiracies and obstacles created by the PPP government.