ISLAMABAD - PTI chief Imran Khan’s claim of holding local bodies (LB) polls in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa next month seems to be a hollow promise as election officials are of the view the exercise would require at least eight months.

According to rule, provinces and federal government have to inform Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) through letter stating their respective preparation for holding LB polls. But, the KP government has not yet intimated the ECP about holding LB polls as the province is yet to legislate for delimitation of constituencies, electoral rolls and other basic formalities.

According to ECP officials, it would need at least six months to conduct elections on biometric machines for which international tenders have not yet been floated for purchasing the machinery. Moreover, the election commission needs 45 days for issuing schedule in case the KP government writes to it by October 15. “But so far we have not been requested (for making arrangements for elections)”; also, the province has not done prerequisites for the polls, a senior ECP official told The Nation.

The KP government is yet to pass legislation on delimitation of constituencies in the province for which it has already sought more time from Supreme Court through a petition filed on March 19 this year. The ECP is dependent on political parties in the parliament to amend Article 224 of the Constitution so that the commission is able to carry out delimitations at grassroots level. But election experts say the KP too like other provinces has not passed any legislation in this regard.

In case the KP government passes legislation and completes delimitation, the ECP will require more than two months for doing scrutiny of voters list while National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) too will need 45 days to feed the new voters data into its system.

“I don’t know how and why Imran Khan declared November as the month of LB polls in KP. It is humanly not possible to conduct polls within this short period of time. Moreover, KP government has to complete all formalities before asking ECP (for holding elections). So far not a single requirement has been fulfilled,” a senior ECP official told The Nation on Wednesday.

He said that Imran Khan had been lambasting the current ECP for being involved in rigging last year’s general elections and saying that KP government would not hold election until biometric system was introduced. But, he said, in case the present ECP was asked to hold LB polls in KP, it would require at least three months to finalise preparations even if biometric system is not introduced. “Election is big process and it cannot be conducted overnight,” he said.

A PTI lawmaker in KP Assembly said Imran Khan probably was in a row of emotions when he promised holding local bodies polls in November, admitting that it was not possible in such a short period of time.