ISLAMABAD: Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Wednesday proposed new dates for the upcoming local body elections in Punjab and Sindh provinces.
Speaking at a news conference here, Secretary ECP said that the Commission had requested Supreme Court to allow it to change the schedule of local body elections in Punjab and Sindh as credible elections were not possible in the given timeframe.
“The Supreme Court today has allowed us to change the schedule. The previously given dates have been recalled and cancelled,” he said
He said the ECP had proposed that elections in Sindh should be held on January 18, 2014 and in Punjab on January 30. “While in KP and cantonment boards these will be held in any time in February,” he said.
Ishtiaque Ahmed said that the ECP was thankful to the Supreme Court as keeping in view the difficulties to hold elections in the given timeframe it allowed to change the schedule. “The Supreme Court in its today’s order has also written that provincial governments and ECP seem committed to holding local body elections,” he said.
He said that a meeting of all provincial governments, ministries of interior, defence and finance as well as other concerned departments had been called at ECP on 19th of the ongoing month to chalk out a plan to hold elections. “We have written letters to all departments concerned to complete their assignments and ensure to come in the meeting with an action plan. After the meeting the new schedule for local body polls will be announced,” he added.
To a question, the Secretary ECP said that credible elections were not possible in the previously given timeframe as there were several lacunae in the local government laws of Punjab and Sindh, while both provinces had also not finalised the delimitations.
To another query, he said that elections in the province of Balochistan would be held as per already given schedule, while KP, cantonment boards and Islamabad had been asked to fulfill requisites so that they could be given dates to hold elections in February.
Ishtiaque Ahmed said that thousands of people had submitted nomination forms in Punjab and Sindh but as the elections would be rescheduled they had to submit their forms again. “However; they would not be required to deposit fee again,” he said.