The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday clubbed the identical petitions with regard to the local government elections in the federal capital and served notices on the respondents for today (Friday). Chief Justice Aamer Farooq heard the petitions regarding increase in the number of union councils, changes in voter lists and seeking to postpone LG elections. During the hearing, Attorney General for Pakistan Ashtar Ausaf Ali argued that the petitioner had not challenged the notification regarding the increase in the number of UCs. Director General Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) told the court that a new notification had been issued related to the UCs and the ECP had also issued order on it stating that the LG election in the federal capital would take place as per its schedule. The chief justice asked the PTI lawyer how it was a contempt of court as the elections were taking place in the capital. “How the court should stop the Parliament from legislations,” he questioned. The chief justice said that since other identical petitions had also been filed, the court had decided to club them. Justice Aamer Farooq said that when the federal cabinet had granted approval for the increase in the number of UCs then why the petition was filed only against the prime minister. The court said it hoped that if there was any issue then government and ECP would address it. The court, however, said that the petition related to changes in the voter lists was more important. Petitioner Shahzad Aurangzeb’s lawyer said that the number of UCs was increased from 101 to 125. He prayed the court to stop the ECP from holding elections under old voter lists. The notification of the ECP was limited to the 101 union councils, he said, adding that federal government had also suggested amendment to Local Government Act. Advocate General Jahangir Jadoon also challenged the decision of ECP for rejecting the federal government’s notification. The court served notices on the ECP and other respondents for today and adjourned further hearing of the case. Haroon Yousaf gets protective bail: The IHC granted 14 days protective bail to Haroon Yousaf, with the directive to appear before the relevant court in a case pertaining to assets beyond sources of income filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB). A division bench comprising Chief Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Sardar Ijaz Ishaq Khan heard the protective bail case. The petitioner’s lawyer Amjad Pervaiz adopted the stance that his client, who had returned from abroad, required protective bail so that he could appear before the accountability court in Lahore. The court accepted the bail against surety bonds of Rs 25,000 and instructed Haroon Yousaf to appear before the accountability court within 14-days.