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ISLAMABAD: Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has decided to take assistance from the federal ministries of Law and Justice, and Parliamentary Affairs as well as Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) regarding delimitation of constituencies for Local Government elections in the country (following the official notification of the results of population census 2017 in April this year).

The decision was taken in a top-level ECP meeting, Tuesday, under the chair of Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja.

The meeting was informed that Ministry of Interior (MoI), through a letter, dated May 18, informed the ECP that 50 Union Councils (UCs) were set up in the territorial limits of Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT).

Later, the ministry withdrew this letter which stalled the delimitation process in these UCs that had started on June 21, the ECP was briefed in the meeting.

The ECP decided to summon Secretary Interior and Chief Commissioner Islamabad in the next meeting, scheduled August 5, to take up this issue.

The meeting also decided to summon the Chief Secretaries and LG Secretaries of Sindh and Balochistan on August 10 to discuss holding LG polls in these two provinces.

On July 9, ECP issued the schedule for LG elections in 219 wards of 42 Cantonment Boards (CBs) across the country, to be held on September 12, this year.

In April this year, the ECP reiterated that holding timely LG polls in all the four provinces, ICT and 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.

Also in April, 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.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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