ISLAMABAD: Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) Tuesday rejected the requests of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan governments to grant more time in preparation of local government elections and directed the two provincial governments to ensure that LG polls are held this year.

The ECP issued these directives in a top-level meeting presided over by Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja.

Secretary ECP Omar Hamid Khan briefed the meeting that that the KP government had earlier informed the ECP that it was willing to hold LG elections either by the end of September or mid of October this year.

The ECP, he said, has completed delimitation of constituencies for LG polls across the province.

Chief Secretary KP Dr Kazim Niaz told the meeting that the KP government wanted that LG polls be held in the province in March 2022.

He cited security challenges in the ongoing Islamic month of Muharram and weather conditions in the northern parts of the country to suggest that LG polls should not be held this year.

However, CEC rejected proposal and directed the chief secretary KP to take up the matter with provincial government-to place it before the provincial cabinet in order to ensure holding the LG polls at the earliest.

Advisor to Chief Minister Balochistan on Local Government Mir Gohram Bugti briefed the meeting that provincial cabinet of CM Balochistan decided to upgrade the union councils after the results of population census 2017 were notified by the federal government.

He said the provincial government needs to two three months for upgradation of union councils and to provide maps and related documents to ECP for delimitation of constituencies for LG polls.

The ECP rejected the provincial advisor's request and directed him to ensure that all pending work related to LG polls in completed within a month.

The CEC warned Bugti that if the provincial government failed to comply with the ECP's instructions, then the matter would be fixed for regular hearing by the ECP.

Secretary ECP briefed the meeting that ECP notified delimitation committees and delimitation authorities in Balochistan but delimitation exercise could not be started in the province due to lack of cooperation from provincial government that did not provide the exact number of union councils and relevant record.

The tenure of local bodies in Balochistan ended on January 27, 2019 and ECP was constitutionally bound to hold LG polls within 120 days after the said date, the secretary said, adding that the LG polls kept facing inordinate delay since then on one pretext or another.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021


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