Voters who came out to use their right of franchise for local government in Islamabad staged protests after finding all the designated Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) polling stations closed and the staff missing, despite court orders to hold local polls on December 31, 2022.

A day earlier, the Islamabad High Court (IHC), while accepting the petitions of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) for nullification of ECP’s decision of LG polls’ deferral, directed the electoral body to hold the elections as per the schedule. But the ECP challenged the IHC order today.

The electoral body had cancelled the December 31 schedule to hold the local government elections in the federal capital earlier this week, citing the change in the union councils of the capital territory.

However, the high court in its one-page short order, asked the federal government to ensure that “it assists the election commission in holding the local government polls”.

Earlier this morning, the ECP filed an intra-court appeal against the orders of the high court to hold local government polls in Islamabad today.

The PTI, taking to Twitter, claimed that voters are waiting outside the stations, but that the ECP staff is missing despite the court’s orders to hold elections. 

PTI Chairman Imran Khan said that the ECP has “shown it is B team of imported government and its backers” by not implementing IHC’s orders. 

“PDM, fearful of the people, is running away from all elections. Right to vote is a fundamental democratic norm & PTI stands committed to it,” he added. 

PTI Senior Vice-President Fawad Chaudhry said that action should be taken against the ECP. 

PTI leader Shireen Mazari said that the “ECP bias” has been exposed as the body has “committed contempt of court to please [a] cabal of crooks and conspirators by not allowing LG elections polling today despite IHC order”. 

PTI Secretary General Asad Umar said that the voters and party teams are present at the polling stations but the ECP is missing in action. 

Umar asked why the ECP didn’t prepare for elections when the court proceedings were going on. He requested the court to take action against the ECP for “committing contempt of court”.

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