LG polls in Punjab and Sindh: schedule to be announced on December 7: ECP

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Monday announced that the schedule for local bodies (LB) elections in Sindh and Punjab would be issued on December 7, asking the provinces to complete preparations for the polls by that date otherwise they would be made accountable for any delay.

Sources in ECP said that the Commission had written letters to the provincial governments of Sindh and Punjab informing them that LB polls schedule would be issued on December 7 and all preparations should be completed before this date.

The schedule was to be issued on November 29 and the ECP had directed the provinces to complete their preparations for the LB polls by November 28 but they failed to fulfil the legal requirements.

The sources maintained that the delay in the announcement of LB elections schedule for the provinces was caused by the provinces failure to update LB laws though notifications were issued. However, lacunas were identified by the ECP including failure to carry out the delimitation exercise.

The Sindh government is arguing that elections in the province are not possible before March while the ECP has been conveyed by the Punjab government that delimitation would be completed by Dec 5 in the province, the sources added.

About the printing of nomination papers, the sources said that it would start soon after the announcement of elections schedule for both the provinces.

The provincial Election Commission of Balochistan has almost completed preparations, including delivery of ballot papers for upcoming LB elections scheduled for December 7.

Sources said that the process of LB polls in Balochistan would be completed as per scheduled, saying that over 6.5 million ballot papers have been printed, in different printing facilities in Karachi, Lahore, and Islamabad, for local bodies’ polls in Balochistan.

The provincial government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is trying to develop consensus among political parties and other relevant stakeholders before making amendments to the existing LB Act 2013. For the purpose, a select committee has also been constituted to take onboard all the relevant institutions and stakeholders to make the Act more inclusive and acceptable to all. The delimitation process has started in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and would be completed by January 15, 2014.

For holding local bodies’ elections in the federal capital, an ordinance has been forwarded to the prime minister for his approval. Sources said that the ordinance is expected to be promulgated before the coming session of National Assembly.

Author: Wasim Iqbal & Waqar Lillah

Source: Business Recorder