ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has sought over Rs 18 billion to conduct Local Government Elections in provinces and periodical revision of Electoral Rolls, official sources told Business Recorder.
The Election Commission of Pakistan is constitutionally mandated to hold Local Government Elections under Articles l4GA (2) and 219 (d) of the Constitution of Pakistan read with section 219 of the Elections Act 2017. The term of Local Governments in the province of Punjab expired on December 31, 2021 and new elections in the province are required to be held in April 2022, i.e., within 120 days of expiry of the term of the Local Government in terms of Section 219 (4) of Elections Act, 2017.
However, the term of Local Governments in provinces of Balochistan and Sindh has expired, respectively, on January 27, 2019 and 30th August, 2020. As such the new Local Government elections in both the provinces are long overdue and are to be conducted within a few months. Similarly, Local Government Elections in Islamabad Capital Territory (lCT) will also be held during current Financial Year 2021 -22.
Likewise, Article 219 of the Constitution read with Section 36 of the Elections Act 2017 entrusts upon the Election Commission of Pakistan a responsibility to prepare and periodically revise Electoral Rolls. Accordingly, the Election Commission of Pakistan has issued plan for the periodical revision of Electoral Rolls 2021-22 and the process has commenced effective from 8 October, 2021 across the country. Considerable progress has already been made with regard to door-to-door campaign for verification of voters but much work is still to be done. Hence, availability of funds is vital for timely completion of the task.
Based on estimates by the ECP field offices, the required funds for Local Government Elections in Punjab, Islamabad Capital Territory (lCT), Balochistan, Sindh, and Periodical Revision of Electoral Rolls are as follows: (i) Punjab- Rs 9,443.200 million;(ii) ICT- Rs 150.000 million; (iii) Balochistan, Rs 4,302.000 million;(iv) Sindh- Rs 2,900.000; and (v) periodical revision of Electoral Rolls- Rs 1,569.507 million. The total required amount is Rs 18,364.707 million.
The ECP has requested that funds amounting to Rs.18,364.707 million may be approved as Technical Supplementary Grant in the respective head in lump sum to enable the Election Commission to draw them as per schedule announced from time to time and fulfil its constitutional obligations without a recourse to ECC/ Cabinet Division related to Local Government Elections and periodical Revision of Electoral Rolls. These two major tasks are at hand and various activities require immediate release of funds.
Earlier, the ECP had also demanded Rs. 23,149.702 million for conduct of Local Government Erections across Pakistan, as well as, for periodical revision of Electoral Rolls on November 3, 2021. In response, the Finance Division, on November 10, 2021 had agreed to the provision of requisite funds for conduct of Local Government Elections in coordination with the provinces. Finance Division at that time endorsed only a sum of Rs. 4,785.000 million, which was approved by the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) in its meeting held on November 15, 2021.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2022