ISLAMABAD - The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has warned the provincial governments of Punjab and Sindh that it will issue the schedule for reserved seats election in case the two provinces failed to meet the legal formality by Thursday.

After the conclusion of Local Government (LG) elections in Sindh and Punjab, the winning candidates have to elect members on seats reserved for minorities, peasants, workers and youth categories. But according to the ECP, both Punjab and Sindh despite the completion of LG polls have failed to make rules and subsequently issue notification of the number of reserved seats in each district of the two provinces.

The ECP in a statement issued here said that it has already assigned the concerned Presiding Officers to administer oath to the elected representatives so that the winners could elect candidates contesting on reserved seats.

“Punjab and Sindh governments have not yet notified the number of reserved seats and the ECP has been waiting for the notification in this regard that is required under the law,” the ECP said in a statement.

It warned that in case the provinces failed to comply with the law, the ECP will itself issue a notification and fix the quota of reserved seats adding the LG system should have been made functional despite that the last phase of polls was concluded on December 5 last year.

Official sources told The Nation that the ECP was in confusion about the quota the provinces will allocate for reserved seats adding that usually 33 percent of the number of general members is allocated as quota for reserved seats.

This is the reason; a senior official said, the ECP wanted the provinces to come up clear on the number of reserved seats that will be allocated before the LG system formally starts functioning.

Mudassir Rizvi, Head of Programmes Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN), the provinces were unwilling to increase the number of reserved seats arguing the reason behind the delay was the official notification that the provinces are required to share with the ECP.

He said the provinces lacked seriousness in making the LG system work properly and timely as the ruling political parties in Punjab and Sindh were not in favour of sharing power with those elected on grass roots level.

“The big question is that the provinces hide facts from ECP. We as election monitors are concerned about the percentage the provinces will fix in terms of reserved seats. More worrisome is the delaying tactics on parts of the provinces that has angered election authorities,” he said.

It is to be mentioned here that LG elections in Punjab and Sindh were held on October 31 in first phase and the last phase was concluded on December 5 last year. But so far the municipal corporations that will come into force have not yet been given final shape due to the want of the notification the provinces will issue regarding number of reserved seats.

A spokesman for ECP said it will be embarrassing for the provinces in case the commission is triggered to allocate reserved seats on its own regretting that the provinces will again challenge the ECP decision that will further delay the LG system to come into existence.