ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government have finally agreed to hold first phase of local government elections in the coming December, while the ECP has rejected the KP government's plan to hold second phase of LG elections in May next year, reiterating to complete the LG elections exercise latest by March next year.
In a meeting, Thursday, between the ECP and the KP officials, the electoral body asked the provincial government to fulfil preparatory requirements for holding LG elections in village/neighbourhood councils as well as tehsils in the first phase of LG elections in December.
The provincial government conveyed to the ECP that it intended to hold LG elections of neighbourhood/village councils in the coming December and May next year in the second phase, while holding LG elections at tehsil level would be decided later.
The ECP rejected this plan, while taking the stance that holding LG elections at village/neighbourhood and tehsil councils in December would save additional expenditure.
The ECP said it intends to complete the entire electoral exercise in the KP by March next year.
Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja presided over the meeting attended by the KP's Food Minister, Atif Khan, and other senior officials.
The ECP said it would announce the date of LG elections' first phase soon as the process of consultations on the issue of holding LG elections in the KP has completed.
The ECP asked the provincial government to share the details of second phase of LG elections in the KP in a week.
Last month, the KP government informed the ECP that it wanted phase-wise elections in the KP.
The electoral body asked the provincial government to share the relevant details for phase-wise polls, including those of districts, tehsils, neighbourhood/village councils.
The required data was not provided by the KP government to the ECP.
In August, this year, the ECP, in a meeting, rejected the requests of the KP and Balochistan governments to be granted more time in preparation of the LG elections and directed the two provincial governments to ensure that LG polls were held this year.
KP Chief Secretary Dr Kazim Niaz told the meeting that the KP government wanted that LG polls be held in the province in March 2022.
The ECP rejected this proposal and directed the chief secretary KP to take up the matter with the 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 said 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 needed two to three months for upgradation of union councils and to provide maps and related documents to the ECP for delimitation of constituencies for the LG polls.
The ECP, in the August meeting, rejected the provincial advisor's request and directed him to ensure that all pending work related to LG polls was completed within a month.
Meanwhile, the ECP, Thursday, took exception to the absence of the chief secretary and secretary LG Balochistan in a case related to holding LG polls in Balochistan. The ECP summoned both the officials on October 21 to explain their stance.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021