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ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and Punjab government are expected to finalize soon the date for the conducting local government elections in the country's largest province where the exercise of delimitation of constituencies for LG elections is scheduled to be completed in October.

In this connection, the ECP has already sought recommendations from the Punjab government-on LG polls' date and whether it wants to hold LG elections in Punjab in one-day or in a phase-wise manner.

Presently, the Commission has not received the input of Punjab government on finalizing the date for LG elections and the electoral body would start preparations for polls keeping in view the related response of the provincial government, it is learnt.

On Aug 5, in a top-level meeting between the ECP and Punjab government officials presided over by Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja which was also attended by Punjab Law Minister Raja Basharat, the ECP had asked the provincial government, in the light of Section 27 of Punjab Village, Punchayat and Neighbourhood Councils Act 2019, to suggest a date for holding the LG elections and whether the provincial government wanted the elections in one-day or in a phase-wise manner.

The provincial government had sought time and informed the Commission that it would share with ECP a 'comprehensive set of recommendations' on LG elections in Punjab in the next few days.

Regarding LG elections in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the meeting was informed that the enforcement of certain laws related to LG elections was yet to be notified by the provincial government - a major hindrance in the launch of preparations for LG elections in KP. The Commission had directed the secretary ECP to hold a meeting with secretary LG KP to resolve the matter.

In Sindh where the tenure of local bodies is coming to an end on August 30, the Commission had directed the Provincial Election Commission, Sindh, to start preparations for constituencies' delimitation ahead of LG polls.

The ECP is yet to make arrangements, in consultation with provincial government, for LG elections in Balochistan where local bodies met their term in January 2019.

On June 25, the ECP issued schedule for delimitation of constituencies in the village and neighbourhood councils of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and establishment of district committees for this purpose.

The ECP issued this schedule in exercise of powers laid down in Punjab Village, Punchayat and Neighbourhood Councils Act 2019 and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Local Government Act 2013, the electoral body said in a statement.

According to the schedule, completion of all the administrative arrangements including procurement of maps and relevant data was supposed to be done from July 6 - 25. Preparation of preliminary list of constituencies by the delimitation committees from July 27 to August 20. Publication of preliminary list of constituencies for inviting representations and objections: August 21. Filing of representations and objections before the delimitation authorities by the voters concerned: Aug 22 to Sep 6. Disposal of representation and objections by the delimitation authorities: till Oct 5. Last Date for communication of decision of delimitation authorities to the delimitation committees: Oct 12. And final publication of list of constituencies by the delimitation committees: Oct 13.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020