ISLAMABAD - Now with the completion of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), Prime Minister’s key political aides have stepped up efforts to secure support of PTI’s important coalition partner Pakistan Muslim League (Quaid) on local government elections in Punjab prior to the next budget.

The move comes after the government and opposition parties in the parliament have reached consensus on the appointment of Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) and two members of the Election Commission.

Well placed sources privy to the development told The Nation that PTI’s key leader Jhangir Khan Tareen has contacted the PML-Q team for an earliest huddle in which Defence Minister Pervaiz Khattak would also participate to review progress made on agreed points in the last meeting.

According to the sources, PTI is keen to address PML-Q’s concerns over the local government laws approved by the Punjab Assembly in its bid to mutually resolve the issue without further delay.

Prime Minister Imran Khan has been keenly seeking LG polls at least in the Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhewa provinces at the earliest but the delay in the appointment of CEC and two ECP members caused serious blow to the government efforts.

Last month, an important meeting of the PTI core committee, held here and chaired by the Prime Minister, had agreed to hold early local government elections and resolve the issue of appointment of Election Commission members and chief election commissioner amicably.

In October last year, the prime minister, while chairing a high-level meeting on Punjab Municipal Services Program in Lahore, was informed that elections of Village Panchayats and Neighborhood Councils will be held in March and elections of Local, Municipal and Tehsil Councils in May this year. 

Addressing the meeting, he had emphasized on early implementation of Local Government System saying the incumbent government has brought a revolution in Pakistan with the establishment of local government system.

However, the PML-Q, an important ally of PTI in the federal and Punjab government, has raised its reservations over the new local government laws passed by the Punjab Assembly and had asked the PTI leadership to reform them ahead of holding local government elections in the province.

According to the informed sources, the issue will be mutually resolved once teams of the two parties meet soon.

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.