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ISLAMABAD: Secretary Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) Dr Akhtar Nazir Monday said that ECP and Punjab government are determined to ensure timely conduct of local government (LG) elections in Pakistan’s largest province.

He shared these views while chairing a high-level meeting at Provincial Election Commission (PEC) in Lahore that reviewed the LG elections arrangements in Punjab.

“After the formal issuance of population census results, there is no major hindrance in holding the LG polls; both the ECP and Punjab government want timely LG polls and are taking steps in this regard,” he said.

Provincial Election Commissioner Ghulam Israr Khan, Secretary LG Punjab Noor-ul-Amin Mengal, Special Secretary LG Punjab Zahoor Hussain, Joint Provincial Election Commissioner Saeed Gul, Additional Secretary LG Punjab Arshad Baig and other senior officials attended the meeting.

Additional secretary LG Punjab briefed the meeting about LG polls preparations in Punjab.

Last month, the ECP reiterated that holding timely LG polls in all the four provinces, Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) and Cantonment Boards (CBs) was its constitutional responsibility and it would ensure the timely conduct of these polls.

All the four provinces had previously requested the ECP to halt constituencies’ delimitation exercise for LG polls until population census results were officially notified. Last month, the Council of Common Interests (CCI) finally approved the results of the population census 2017 after which the arrangements for LG polls are gaining momentum. In January this year, Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa governments had suggested to ECP to hold LG polls in September this year. On April 28, the ECP took briefings by relevant officials on LG polls scenario in the country. The commission learnt that Punjab government was yet to hand over to ECP the maps and related documents for constituencies delimitation in the province.

The ECP decided to write yet another letter to Punjab government to provide maps and related documents for delimitation exercise in the province.

The commission also decided to write to Sindh and Balochistan governments to provide the maps and relevant documents for delimitation exercise. Moreover, the commission decided to resume pending delimitation drive in the seven districts of KP.

Furthermore, the ECP, on April 28, decided to write to federal Ministry of Interior (MoI) to provide the number of union councils in ICT. In case MoI failed to provide the relevant record, the ECP would start delimitation drive on previous UCs, it was decided.

The next ECP meeting on LG polls is scheduled on May 27.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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