ISLAMABAD In a major development on Tuesday, ruling PPP stalled the Local Government (LG) elections for next six months until it succeeds in overcoming differences with important coalition partner, MQM that still wants continuation of previous system headed by the nazims. However, the Government has given technical reason of preparation of error-free electoral rolls for putting off the LG poll till 2011. A high-level meeting chaired by the Chief Election Commissioner Justice (Retd) Hamid Ali Mirza Tuesday decided to hold the LG elections next year after completion of error-free electoral rolls. The meeting also attended by Federal Minister for Information, Qamaruz Zaman Kaira, provincial Local government secretaries or their representatives, Deputy Chairman Nadra, Tariq Malik and senior officials of Ministry of Law and Justice. Later, talking to reporters, the Minister called for development of a uniformed local govt system across the country. He stressed that a consensus on the system and timeframe for its finalisation should be reached through the Federal Ministry of Local Government. Kaira said holding of free, fair and transparent LG elections, which lay foundation of a strong democracy, were responsibility of the ECP. He said the Government would provide all the financial and technical support to the Commission for removing deficiencies in the existing electoral rolls. Meanwhile briefing reporters on the decisions taken in the meeting, Secretary EC, Ishtiaq Ahmad Khan said it was unanimously agreed that the local government elections would be held on the basis of the updated electoral rolls. He said the process of developing credible and error-free voters list in collaboration with Nadra would require a period of six months. In response to a question, he said the Nadra has demanded an amount exceeding Rs 0.5 billion for updating the electoral rolls. He said work on pilot project to remove errors from the electoral rolls is all set to start and the task will be completed within six months. He said that the ECP has sent a draft bill for legislation to the Ministry of Law and Justice to make computerised CNIC mandatory for registration of voters. He said the Ministry has started processing the proposed bill and assured the ECP that it will shortly be presented before the Parliament. He said the draft bill proposes automatic enrolment of voters at the time of issuance of the CNIC. Highlighting importance of the proposed amendment, the Secretary said that in the consultative meeting with the leaders of political parties, it was unanimously agreed to make CNIC compulsory for registration as voter as well as for casting of vote. The political leaders strongly recommended that a person holding old NIC should not be allowed to cast his vote and that all old NICs should be cancelled. They had also suggested that the ECP, in collaboration with NADRA, should develop a mechanism for registration of voters that should become automatic with issuance of the CNIC. He said the ECP has proposed certain amendments in the Electoral Rolls Act, 1974 Section 6 (2) and the Representation of the People Act, 1976 Section 33 (1) and 33 (3)(a) to ensure accuracy of the electoral rolls and making the process of elections fair and transparent. Under the proposed provisions Section 6 (2) of the Electoral Rolls Act, a person shall not be entitled to be enrolled as a voter unless he possesses the CNIC issued to him under the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) Ordinance, 2000(VIII of 2000). Besides, the proposed amendments in sections of the Representation of the People Act, 1976 envisage that a person is bound to produce his CNIC at the time of casting his vote and failure to produce such CNIC would serve as a restriction to casting of his vote. He, however, stressed that the ECP would not be in a position to enter into an effective collaboration with NADRA until the proposed bill was passed by the Parliament. Once the law is in place, the ECP would have no legal hurdle in preparing credible Computerised electoral rolls in collaboration with Nadra. The Nadra has already claimed to prepare the CNICs of around 90 percent of the eligible voters and this further justifies the idea to legislate on it while declaring the CNIC as mandatory for registration and casting of vote. Besides, this would help preparing complete, accurate and updated computerised electoral rolls for ensuring free, fair and transparent elections for all times to come, the Secretary added. Answering a question, he said the ECP would shortly serve legal notice on KALSOFT for developing flawed electoral rolls prior to the 2007 general elections. The KALSOFT company, reportedly owned by a close relative of PML-Q President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, had been paid an amount close to Rs one billion for the job, but the voters list prepared by it was proved to be flawed with lot of duplicate and multiple entries in it.