The National Assembly on Thursday approved the passage of the Islamabad Capital Territory Local Government (Amendment) Bill 2002, aimed at increasing the number of Union Councils from 101 to 125 and seeking direct election for the post of mayor and deputy mayor. The bill was moved by State Minister for Law and Justice Shahadat Awan. According to the amendments, the number of union councils (UCs) would be enhanced from 101 to 125 within the Islamabad Capital Territory to cater for the existing population of the federal capital. The mayor and deputy mayor shall be directly elected as joint candidates by the voters. Under the amendment, the federal government has been authorised to increase or decrease the number of union councils from time to time. “If the office of the mayor of local government falls vacant during the term of the council for any reason, the Election Commission shall hold a fresh election to the office of the head of the local government.” According to the statement of Objects and Reasons, ICT Local Government Act was promulgated in 2015 to establish an elected local government system to devolve political, administrative, and financial authority in order to promote good governance and effective service delivery through the institutionalized participation and involvement of people in day to day governance. Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad (MCI) is a municipal body established under the ICT Local Government (Amendment) Act, 2022. Administrator MCI has proposed amendments to sections 6,12 and 29 of the Act to increase the number of UCs to cater to existing population of Islamabad and to improve the procedure of mayor, deputy mayor’s election. The mayor and deputy mayor shall be held on the day of election of members of UCs under section 11. Maulana Abdul Akbar Chitrali, the lone MNA of Jamat-e-Islami, and Ghous Bukhsh Mehr opposed the bill and held that through this move local government elections, scheduled to be held on 31st December, may get deferred.