LAHORE - Except for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, no other province has any timeframe in mind to hold the local elections. As a result, it is not clear whether the lowest tier of the government will be put in place before the general elections.

The Sindh government had been ordered by the court to hold the local elections in 90 days. However, the government expressed its inability to comply with the order and challenged the order before the Sindh High Court. It argued that the electoral rolls were not complete at present, because of which the local elections could not be held.

The Sindh chief minister says the holding of local elections should be left to the next elected government. The Punjab government says the local elections would be held six months after the general elections.  The PML-N high-ups say this is the time for the general elections, not local polls.

The Punjab government has approved the system of local governments, but has yet to decide whether they should be held on party or non-party basis. The PML-N manifesto says the local elections would be held on party basis. The situation in Balochistan is no different. The Supreme Court said many a time that the situation in Balochistan could improve if the local elections were held.  But, the Balochistan government says it has made all arrangements to hold local polls but it wants to follow the timeframe set by other provinces.

Advocate General Balochistan Amanullah Kanrani, who is presenting the case of Balochistan in the Supreme Court regarding the LG elections, told TheNation that delimitation for LG polls in 24 out of 30 districts had been completed while the process was underway in the remaining districts. “The Balochistan government has informed federal government that it is all set to hold LG polls, however, it will hold the polls when the other provinces or federal government announce a date.”

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has time and again announced that it will hold local bodies’ elections on party basis either in the last week of October or the first week of November. However, this depends upon the law and order situation at the time.

The KP Assembly has already unanimously passed Local Government Bill 2012 for setting up new local bodies and holding municipal elections in the province.

After the passage of this new bill 2012, Musharraf-era Local Government Ordinance-2001, was revoked and replaced with old municipal corporation and municipal committees system in the province.

The government also expedited work on other necessary arrangements. In this connection, in the near past, the KP government also established an authority to delimit the boundaries of local councils in the province.

The authority has been named as ‘Provincial Delimitation Authority Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’. The delimitation authority is responsible for framing rules and criteria regarding delimitation of local councils in light of the Local Government Act. The process of delimiting local councils will begin once date for holding local body elections is announced.

Officials say the KP government intends to hold next local bodies polls on party basis.–Ashraf Mumtaz

LG polls not in sight, except in KPK