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ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has directed the Balochistan government to provide relevant data for delimitation of constituencies for local government elections in the province, announcing that the electoral body would start the delimitation exercise from the coming December 6 even if the provincial government failed to comply with the commission’s directions.

Authored by Members ECP Nisar Ahmed Durrani and Shah Muhammad Jatoi, the verdict on LG elections in Balochistan was reserved on Monday and announced on Tuesday.

“This commission, therefore, under the command of constitution and law, directs the chief secretary Balochistan and secretary LG to provide requisite details of all urban and rural tiers of local councils, criteria of constitution of councils along with maps and notifications to the commission within two weeks positively,” the verdict reads.

“Alternatively, the commission shall initiate the delimitation process in the province of Balochistan with effect from 06-12-2021 under the constitution, Elections Act 2017, existing applicable local government laws and tiers. In the meanwhile, the concerned office shall chalk out delimitation plan for the province of Balochistan for the persual and approval of the commission.”

On August 10, this year, the then 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 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 LG polls.

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

The ECP 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 commission.

The electoral body then fixed the matter for regular hearing on September 14.

Durrani and Jatoi, the two Members ECP, heard the case.

The electoral body is of the view that it 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 the ECP was constitutionally bound to hold LG polls within 120 days after the said date but the LG polls kept facing inordinate delay since then on one pretext or another.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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