The provincial government of Balochistan has once again ignored the order of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) regarding cooperation over holding of timely elections as required under Article 220 of the Constitution. This is the same issue that arose back in 2013 as well at the time of the Local Government (LG) polls. The government at this point cannot afford a delay in its functions any longer. We have already witnessed a great delay in the formation of committees and that has impacted the output of the government bodies. According to the report, the government has witnessed the lowest revenue collection in over 20 years. With problems like these plaguing the system, it is important that local government elections are held timely in all provinces.

The federal government needs to urge all provincial bodies to cooperate with the ECP. The Balochistan assembly has submitted a resolution unanimously to the ECP which demands that the ongoing delimitation exercise and local government elections in the province be put off indefinitely. Despite Balochistan High Court’s (BHC) order to delay the delimitation till the last week of February, the ECP is adamant that an intra-court appeal against the BHC’s decision would be filed, and in case it did not grant relief, the Supreme Court would be moved.

Delaying of local government polls has become a tactic to amass power in the system as well - a label which the Balochistan assembly will carry if it fails to comply with the orders of the ECP. The local government system is the best possible example of democracy on the grass root level and there is a need to strengthen that system in order to increase people to representative contact. The Balochistan government was sensitised regarding the polls as early as September 2018. Failure to comply will result in tensions, which the government cannot afford at the time.