PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court (PHC) has issued stay order on the local government elections in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and issued notices to the KP government and Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

A two-member bench of the PHC comprising Justice Ikramullah Khan and Justice Sahibzada Asadullah issued the stay order on a petition filed by a citizen Masoodur Rehman.

The petitioner’s lawyer, Sajjadur Rehman Advocate told the court that the tenure of the local government representatives has completed recently and under the Local Government Act, the government is bond to hold elections in the province within 120 days. However, he said the provincial government has recently amended the Local Government Act under which all the districts have been converted into tehsil municipal administrations (TMAs). In this regard, the petitioner said, a notification has also been issued to divide Peshawar into five tehsils, while other tehsils of provinces have not been divided yet. He said a long process is required for completion of this practice.

The petitioner argued that winter season is heading closer during which the mountainous areas of KP receive heavy snowfall. He said that in such a scenario it will be very difficult to hold local government elections in these areas. Therefore, he said the local government elections must be delayed and time must be given to the ECP to make preparations for the mega exercise.

Justice Ikramullah asked Additional Advocate General Syed Sikandar Shah about his opinion on the matter. The AAG said Peshawar has been divided into tehsils, while the process is continuing in other districts.

The court issued stay orders for the polls and issued notices to the ECP and Local Government Department and asked them to submit reply on next date of hearing.

Three days earlier, Member of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly from the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) Mahmood Ahmad Khan Bhittani approached the Peshawar High Court for extending the local government elections in the province beyond the 120 days’ timeframe stipulated in the Elections Act, 2017. He claimed that the delimitation process has yet to be initiated for holding the elections under the local government system in the province.