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ISLAMABAD: Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) Monday initiated the process of consultations for finalising a date for holding local government (LG) elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as both provincial governments have proposed holding the LG polls in September this year.

Last month, the Punjab government suggested to the ECP to hold LG polls in September this year. Few days later, the KP government also recommended to the commission to hold LG polls in September.

The ECP Monday reviewed both the proposals whereas a final decision in this regard is expected this month.

On January 1st this year, Secretary LG Punjab Dr Sajid Mahmood Chauhan told ECP in a meeting that provincial government could not give any date for holding LG polls in Punjab as the National Command and Control Centre (NCOC) had clearly recommended postponing the LG polls due to rapid spread of coronavirus across the country.

The secretary LG sought more time from the ECP to provide a date for LG polls.

This did not go down well with the electoral body. “It seems that Punjab government is not serious in holding LG polls that is why it is giving lame excuses,” said Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar sultan Raja who presided over the meeting.

The ECP directed the provincial government to provide LG polls’ date within next 15 days. The commission also directed the provincial government to name and publish panchayat and village councils latest by January 10.

On January 21, Secretary LG KP Shakeel Ahmed Mian informed ECP in a meeting that KP Board of Revenue notified the tehsil limits of Peshawar and the number of village/ neighbourhood councils in Peshawar would be notified tehsil-wise soon.

The draft of Conduct of Election Rules 2020 has been sent to the provincial cabinet for approval and the provincial cabinet would approve these rules in its upcoming meeting, he said. The ECP directed secretary LG KP to provide notifications regarding village/ neighbourhood councils in Peshawar within 15 days.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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