ISLAMABAD - The ruling party Pakistan Tehreek e Insaf (PTI) after missing the constitutional deadline is still reluctant to conduct local government elections in provinces as apparently it faces many challenges.

The PTI has already missed the constitutional deadline for holding the LG elections within 120 days. As section-219 (4) of the Elections Act 2017 states that the fresh elections for new local government representatives must be conducted within 120 days after the expiry of the previous term.

The previous local governments completed their term on August 28 and the government is yet to fulfil its responsibility by holding the LG elections on time.

Besides many other challenges, the ruling party has been facing a tough time from its allies in Punjab Assembly after the PML-Q leader Moonis Elahi had expressed reservations over the new local bodies system in the province.

Moonis Elahi, MNA, on twitter had posted that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Punjab cannot be compared as the difference in the size of population of these provinces is huge. “The PTI needs to rethink a copy and past KP formula,” he said. “There are several inherent faults starting with already a significant number of 4000+ units (union councils) to 24000+ village councils/panchaits.”

“This will increase your administrative expense six times. Minimum of eight billion rupees every year will be wasted on salaries and expenses,” he added.

The Punjab Assembly on April 30 had passed the new Punjab Local Government Bill 2019 with a majority vote of ruling PTI members after Law Minister Raja Basharat and Speaker Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi knocked out the opposition on technical grounds, bringing an end to the existing local councils dominated by the PML-N.

On the other hand, in Khyber Pakhtunkhewa laws related to Local Government and passed by the provincial assembly have been challenged by the opposition in Peshawar High Court.

However, the prime minister’s political aides are confident to get the issue mutually resolved by engaging the opposition parties in fruitful talks.

The KP government is also yet to conduct local government elections in the province within the pre-determined timeframe.

The opposition in KP Assembly has also raised finger over the amendment in Local Government Act 2013 as unlike the 2015 local bodies, the new setup will have two tiers of government (Tehsil/Town Councils and the Village/Neighbourhood Councils) after the KP government amended the KP Local Government Act 2013 and the district council has been revoked.

However, sources in the ECP told The Nation that the elections are unlikely to be held soon due to the lengthy delimitation process and besides this the government is using delaying tactics fearing defeat in elections.

The sources further said that the ruling party had failed to deliver what it had promised with the people of Pakistan and it was one of the reasons that they were dragging their feet from holding the LG elections.

The sources revealed that if the ruling party dared to hold LG elections then they would surely lose the real mandate and it would greatly affect their dominance on other parties in KP and Punjab.

The sources further said that ECP has held several meetings with the provinces to expedite the election process as soon as possible; adding that ECP will not be able to hold LG elections due to alleged delaying tactics of the incumbent government.

The KP government has allocated Rs46 billion for the districts in its annual development program. These funds are to be spent through the local governments and it will leave a question mark on how the government will spend these funds in the absence of LG elections.

Information Minister of KP government Shaukat Yousafzai did not respond when The Nation called him repeatedly for getting information about the procedure of spending these funds in the absence of local governments.

However, according to LG officials the revoking of district council was to transfer the power to the lowest level and make the common masses more powerful and politically aware.