ISLAMABAD - The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) may face difficulties in holding Local Government elections as the provincial governments are yet to take measures in this regard.

Despite frequent notices from the ECP the provinces are yet to share complete details of delimitations, maps and amendments in election legislation etc.

The commission in April had expressed serious concern over non-provision of the required information related to the proposed rules including necessary notifications, maps, chronological order of census blocks of religious minorities, and other related documents from all the provinces.

The ECP had directed the provinces to take measures for holding Local Government elections on time. The Commission had also asked the provinces to provide complete documents, rules, newly formed laws, maps and amendment in laws related to the LG.

While talking to The Nation a senior official of ECP said that ECP had been frequently asking the provinces to take measures for the LG elections; adding that ECP had many times shown its reservations over the sluggish progress of the provinces on the matter.

The official stated that earlier in start of August, a delegation of Punjab government under the leadership of Provincial Minister Raja Basharat held a meeting with Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja in Islamabad and asked for Local Government elections’ schedule under Punjab Village Punchayat and Neighbourhood Councils’ Act 2019.

Punjab, KP, Balochistan, without LG setup

He said that CEC had also asked the delegation whether to the elections will be held in a single phase or in several phases; however, the Punjab government is yet to respond to the suggestion of the CEC.

Meanwhile, The Nation frequently approached Secretary Local Government Department Punjab for his comment but he did not give his comment on the matter.

It is important to mention here that the Local Government setup in Punjab was dissolved through legislation on May 3 2019 and the government had decided to hold new elections within the due date; however the Punjab government failed to hold elections within the due date.

On the other hand, Khyber Pukhtunkhwa despite repeated notices of the ECP, failed to hold the LG elections within the due date and now amid the pandemic the KP Assembly through an Ordinance has postponed the LG elections for the next two years

On this move of the KP government the ECP had raised reservations and had termed the decision as a move against the Local Government law and Election Act, 2017. The Commission had directed the KP government to revive its decision of halting the elections.

It is important to mention here that the last tenure of Local governments expired on August 28 of the previous year and according to the section 2019 (4) of the Election Act, 2017 the next elections should be held within 120 days after the expiry of previous setup.

The Local Government tenure in Sindh is also going to expire within a few days and the ECP has already sent them notices and has asked the Sindh government for the details of amendments in LG Act 2013, copies of the amended rules, and also the details for delimitation but the Sindh government is yet to respond to the notice.

On the matter of LG elections in Balochistan the commission was earlier informed that the matter of holding LG elections in Balochistan was pending in Balochistan High Court, however, the Commission has asked the Balochistan government to provide the copy of amended LG rules 2010.